The Yankees are gradually returning to their usual form, but as one player recovers, another succumbs to injury. Today, the team welcomes back the reigning AL MVP to the lineup. It feels like it has been ages since Judge was part of the squad, and his return will provide a significant boost. The offense performed well yesterday, but even a little league team could probably score a few runs against that pitching staff. However, with Judge’s return, Oswald Peraza will be placed on the IL as a consequence.
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According to the Yankees, the following moves have occurred:
“Reinstated Aaron Judge from the 10-day IL with no restrictions. Placed Oswald Peraza on the 10-day IL with (retroactive to 5/6) a right ankle sprain.”
Getting Judge back is a huge win for the team, and it will undoubtedly improve lineup production from top to bottom.
The Yankees are receiving reinforcements:
Some players have managed to pick up the slack in Judge’s absence, with DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo both holding their own. Without them, the lineup would be severely weakened, but fortunately, they have been doing their job. DJ has a .805 OPS on the season with a 123 wRC+. Additionally, his defense at the hot corner and across the diamond has been consistently excellent. He has 3 DRS and 1 OAA at third base and has been a key contributor in the middle of the lineup.
As for Rizzo, he has had an impressive start to the 2023 season. He has 3 OAA and DRS at first base, seemingly erasing the memory of his subpar performance last season. With a bat in hand, he has been the most productive Yankee. He has a 141 wRC+, is batting .292 with a .853 OPS, and it is evident that no shift has significantly benefited him. He also has 6 HRs, demonstrating that he is still hitting for power while accumulating more base hits.
Adding Judge to the lineup alongside these two will be a welcome sight. Furthermore, Harrison Bader has been excellent since rejoining the squad. The Yankees are slowly regaining their strength, even with Peraza heading to the IL due to the ankle injury he sustained a few days ago after an awkward slide into second base during a steal attempt. He has struggled to find his footing this year, with a mere 64 wRC+ since being called up, so this break may allow him to get back on track.
Judge remains the team’s best player, and his value cannot be overstated. He had a 134 wRC+ and an OPS of .863 before suffering a minor hip strain. It would not be surprising if he appears to be his usual self tonight, especially against the struggling Oakland A’s organization. If Judge can build some momentum in the next two games against Oakland, it could hopefully carry over to the series against the Rays. Tampa seems unwilling to lose, and a healthy Judge will be essential in defeating the AL East leaders.
While Judge returns and Peraza steps down, more moves are on the horizon. Severino should return soon and join the rotation, Tommy Kahnle continues to progress and may bolster the bullpen shortly, and updates on Giancarlo’s injury and expected return should start emerging. The Yankees are regaining strength, albeit slowly. The season is still young, and a 19-17 record is not too damaging to prevent a comeback. This team has potential; it is just a matter of time before they truly hit their stride.