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Yankees Activate Aaron Judge, but He Won’t Be Hitting

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After nearly seven weeks, Aaron Judge was back on the Yankees’ roster for a home game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.

Judge, who has not played since sustaining a chip fracture in his right wrist on July 26, was activated from the disabled list, but his presence Friday will be more ceremonial than functional. Manager Aaron Boone said that for now, Judge would be limited to pinch-running and possibly used as a defensive replacement.

“Look, it’s Aaron Judge, so I think guys will be excited knowing what he means to the guys,” Boone said. “So hopefully it is something that just his presence and being on the bench, and maybe getting into a game, is something that can be something that uplifts the guys.”

But Boone said he did not know when Judge would be able to rejoin the batting order. Judge took batting practice with his teammates before all three games of the Yankees’ trip to Minnesota this week, and he hit again before Friday’s game. But he has yet to face pitching in either a rehab game or a simulated one. The expansion of rosters on Sept. 1, Boone said, made it possible for the Yankees to carry Judge as an inspirational presence for his teammates.

“Right now, I think it’s just a matter of building up that stamina and building up the amount of reps he’s able to do, because if anyone’s watching him take B.P., it’s pretty electric right now,” Boone said. “It’s coming off like Aaron Judge. So really it’s about just getting those repeated reps and start to really see some velocity and then we’ll get some pitchers to throw to him and then we go.”

Judge did not speak to reporters after batting practice, but Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons agreed with Boone that Judge’s return, even in a limited role, could help his struggling team.

“It’s huge,” Gibbons said. “Any time one of your top guys go down, it’s a pretty big hole. Some teams have more to cover than others, but he’s been the guy here.”

Judge, whose 26 home runs are the second most on the club, has missed 45 games since being hit on the wrist by a pitch from Kansas City’s Jakob Junis. The Yankees were 25-20 in those games, and the distance between them and the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East had swelled from four and a half games to 10 ½ games entering Friday. In addition, their lead in the A.L. wild-card race has dwindled to a single game over the Oakland Athletics.

“He’s one of those special players, special people,” Boone said. “The impact that he has with everyone in that room, even being still a very young player, when Aaron speaks, people listen. He’s someone that you always want around impacting other people.”

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