Yankees Aaron Judge Close to Returning from Knee Injury
New York Yankees top prospect Aaron Judge is expected to return to the Triple-A Scranton lineup within 4-5 days according to Railriders manager Al Pedrique.
Saturday afternoon, Yankees beat reporter Sweeny Murti of WFAN tweeted that 24-year-old outfielder Aaron Judge will rejoin the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders in the next 4-5 days after missing more than two weeks with a knee injury.
Judge originally suffered the injury while diving for a ball in right field on July 8th against the Rochester Red Wings. He attempted to stay in the game, but limped off the field after having difficulty running out a ground ball.
The International League Player of the Month for June disappointingly ended up missing both the Triple-A All Star Game and Home Run Derby contest because of the issue, but it’s good to see one of the Yankees’ most talented young players return to the field so quickly.
The young slugger had been red-hot prior to the injury, and is hitting .261/.357/.469 (139 wRC+) in 370 Triple-A plate appearances this season. He has worked hard to fix the holes in his swing, cutting down his strikeouts from 28.5% in his first go-round with the Railriders to a far more manageable 23.2% in 2016.
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With the Yankees apparently selling (at least partially) at the trade deadline, it’s fair to wonder if there could soon be an opening in right field with the big league club on August 2nd.
Incumbent Carlos Beltran is on an expiring deal and has drawn a lot of trade interest with his strong first half. If Judge shows he’s fully healthy, could he finally get his shot in the second half of the season?
Judge’s primary competition in the event of a trade would be fourth outfielder Aaron Hicks, but the offseason acquisition has been a major disappointment in 2016, batting .191/.256/.289 (42 wRC+) in 216 PA with the Yankees.
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Even if he isn’t handed a starting job in 2016, it’s important to have Judge back on the field and finishing the year strong and healthy if he’s going to be a contributor to the big league club next season. At the very least, a September call-up appears to be in the cards for Judge, and once he’s on the roster, there is no way they are going to waste a talent like his sitting on the bench.