Aaron Judge excited after finally taking big step to a return

OAKLAND, Calif. — Aaron Judge took a step forward in coming back from a fractured right wrist Monday, when he took 25 dry swings and 25 hacks off a batting tee.

Now, with 25 games (counting Monday’s against the A’s) remaining, is there enough time for Judge to return from the DL before the regular season runs out of track?

“We don’t know that yet. Hopefully, if we just keep moving in the right direction, hopefully before the season is over with I will be in some games, so we will see,” Judge said Monday morning, when asked if he knew when he would swing a bat against live pitching.

Out since getting hit by a pitch on July 26, Judge said he had been dry-swinging, but Monday was the first time he worked off the tee and explained he was encouraged by the results.

“I am excited about the progress made so far,” Judge said. “Ramp it up in the next couple of days. I don’t feel too much of anything.”

Judge said after he gets comfortable with the tee work, he will progress to toss and move to the field for live batting practice.

“It feels good. I am trying to do my normal routine and see how it feels [Tuesday],” Judge said.

Aaron Boone was encouraged by the news relayed to him by hitting coach Marcus Thames.

“We definitely feel like he is starting to build momentum,” Boone said. “For him to hit off a tee and have it go really well is a great sign. Today was a very good day. Not ready to say when he will be back for sure, but today was a really good day. Talking to Marcus, there was no discomfort in there.”

With the minor league seasons ending, a rehab assignment for Judge won’t be part of the process.

“We will have to get creative,” Boone said. “Started that conversation a little bit [Monday] with Cash [Brian Cashman].”

Simulated games at the Yankees’ minor league complex is the most likely avenue the Yankees will take to get Judge back in the lineup. If he returns, Boone envisions him playing right field.

“We will try and do what’s best for Aaron when it gets to that time,” Boone said.

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