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Yankees activate hitting machine Aaron Judge, but not to hit (yet)

Judge will take some simulated at bats over the weekend.

New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The Yankees activated Aaron Judge on Friday, but as of now he’s still not able to hit outside of batting practice. During BP this week in Minnesota Judge said,

“I felt good. I felt great. It’s another good step forward. I’m just happy to be outside hitting. One step closer and I’m excited for the progress we’re making.”

He was still experiencing pain in the wrist as recently as earlier this week, but looked closer than he had been. Especially when you consider the wrist was apparently okay enough to jack some homers at Target Field.

It didn’t sound much like he was fully ready to get back in the lineup just yet, but in a nice surprise for New York fans before the weekend the Yankees are planning to get Judge back in the swing of things. Not by hitting, as his fractured wrist is apparently still not 100% ready for that, but in a defensive role and any possible pinch running situations if necessary.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that the activation will hopefully speed up Judge’s rehab process by getting him back into game action, important since there are only a few series left in the season before the Yankees will have to be fully healthy for a Wild Card game. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to get back into the swing of things for New York’s Big Baseball Boy.

He’s still scheduled to continue taking batting practice, and Boone also said that Judge will be getting some simulated at-bats in over the weekend at some point. In the meantime, he’ll be able to get some playing time but isn’t taking up an important roster spot now that it’s September.

Adding him back while he’s still not fully healthy — but not at a high risk of re-injuring the wrist — isn’t a sacrifice now that rosters are expanded. Plus, if he can help out defensively in his usual spot in right field during a stretch where the Yankees really need to win some games to ensure they’ll be playing that Wild Card game at home, that’s a nice perk too.

This sets Judge up to return in about a week or so. Maybe even sooner. He’ll get some all-important reps in the field and in game situations though, and that’s as important as anything heading into an October where the Yankees will hope to play a whole lot better than they have been in August and September.