BOSTON – Aaron Judge still feels “some pain and discomfort” in his right wrist because, after all, there is a broken bone there.
Still, the rightfielder, who has been on the disabled list since July 27 with a chip fracture in the wrist, is optimistic about his progress.
“As far as I know with the trainers, we’re right on track,” Judge said Sunday.
The Yankees initially gave a timeframe of three to four weeks, which remains intact.
“Everything’s feeling so far, so good,” Judge said.
Judge, hit on the wrist July 26 by a 93-mph fastball thrown by Royals righthander Jakub Junis, has not yet begun swinging a bat, something that could occur at some point during a three-game series against the White Sox that begins Monday in Chicago.
“It’s not healed yet,” said Judge, who has a .285/.398/.548 slash line with a team-best 26 homers and 61 RBIs, third most on the club. “So it’s going to take a while for that to heal up, but right now, some of the range of motion is coming back. Now it’s just getting the strength back, that’s the biggest thing.”
Judge said he threw a couple of days ago, but that was only at a distance of about five feet against a wall.
“Felt all right,” he said with a smile. “Haven’t really stretched it out yet. Taking it slow.”
When Judge went to the DL, Aaron Boone knew it would hurt his lineup, but even with Judge and Gary Sanchez out, he thought his club would endure.
“I don’t like not writing Judgie’s name in there, but I also feel like it’s a very capable lineup the way it’s constructed right now,” Boone said at the time. “And the expectation is we’ll go out there and produce.”
A little more than a week into the DL stint, it has not panned out that way.
Though a battered rotation has contributed to the club’s recent struggles, entering Sunday night, the 68-41 Yankees had gone 3-5 since Judge went to the DL and had lost four straight. They were 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox when Judge got hit, and their deficit had bulged to 8 ½ games entering Sunday.
“Any time you’re not playing, it’s tough,” said Judge, who has watched each game from the dugout. “But we have a good team, so I’m just trying to be out there and support them and do anything I can from the bench that can help the guys out. We have a good team. They’re fighting. Everybody goes through some rough times in a season and we’re facing a good ballclub.”
After his team was held to one run for a second straight game – Rick Porcello pitched a one-hitter Friday night and Nathan Eovaldi threw eight shutout innings Saturday afternoon – Boone referenced the injuries to Judge and Sanchez, though he was quick not to use them as an excuse.
Instead, he said the Yankees haven’t done nearly as good a job “controlling the strike zone,” a goal that he has stressed since spring training.
“They’ve done a really good job the last two days, both Eovaldi and Porcello, of attacking the strike zone early, so they’re getting ahead in the count a lot,” Boone said. “So that makes it difficult, when they’re dictating counts, to really run deep counts.”
He added, “we absolutely have to find a way” to produce.
“We’re an elite group,” he said. “We have a couple key pieces out, but we’ve got to do a better job. You definitely tip your cap to Porcello and Eovaldi being able to shut us down, but we have to find a way too. Especially right now when it’s tough.”