Aaron Judge’s absence from the Yankees lineup was short-lived.
Judge is set to return to the starting lineup in Friday night’s game against the Red Sox in Boston. The slugger is back just one day after being held out of the Yankees’ series-opening 6-5 win with “lower-body soreness.” He will be the DH and bat second.
Aaron Boone revealed on Thursday that Judge’s soreness was predominantly located in his calves, an area where the center fielder has experienced discomfort in previous seasons. Judge later confirmed his manager’s statement, adding the soreness was “stuff I’ve been feeling for a week” and that his sitting out was “just precautionary.”
Judge’s return is a welcome sight for the Yankees, whose commanding 14 1/2-game lead over the Rays in the division can largely be attributed to the 30-year-old’s MVP-caliber season. Entering play Friday, he owned a formidable .287/.366/.993 slash line alongside an MLB-best 30 home runs.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo is additionally on the cusp of returning from lower back stiffness that has sidelined him since Tuesday. He is expected to undergo a full pregame workout of batting practice and fielding, with the loose goal of rejoining the lineup on Saturday.