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Yankees slugger Stanton could return next week

June 14, 2019
New York Yankees first baseman Kendrys Morales can't field the throw allowing New York Mets' Todd Frazier to reach first base during the fourth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader, Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

CHICAGO (AP) — The New York Yankees could get Giancarlo Stanton back next week after the slugger was shelved by a series of injuries, and Aaron Judge also is getting closer after being sidelined by a strained left oblique.

Stanton is taking his minor league rehab assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for its weekend series at Durham. He homered twice for Class A Tampa on Wednesday night.

If Stanton gets through this weekend with no problems, New York manager Aaron Boone said he could be activated before Tuesday’s game at home against Tampa Bay. The 29-year-old Stanton hasn’t played for the Yankees since March 31 because of biceps, shoulder and calf injuries.

“He’s feeling really well,” Boone said before Thursday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox. “I spoke to him about an hour ago, but even the conversations I’ve had with him in the last few days leading up this where I can tell he’s just physically in a really good place.”

Judge hasn’t played for New York since April 20. But he hit during simulated games at the club’s minor league complex in Florida on Wednesday and Thursday, going deep each day.

“It’s been feeling good the past two days in my at-bats,” Judge said. “Game ready. Just excited to hopefully get a chance to play in some games here soon and get back to New York. The big test was getting these at-bats.”

Judge could join Stanton at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this weekend. Boone said Judge probably would need a little bit longer stint with the Triple-A club.

While Judge and Stanton are moving in the right direction, New York placed Kendrys Morales on the 10-day injured list before the series opener against Chicago because of a left calf strain.

Morales is the 20th player to go on the IL this year for New York, matching its total for the entire 2018 season. The first baseman/designated hitter experienced some tightness in his calf after collecting three hits in the Yankees’ 12-5 victory over the Mets on Tuesday.

“The doctor looked at him, they thought it was best to go get an MRI of it,” Boone said. “It did show a small strain in there. ... I don’t think it’s real serious, but it was enough in there to prompt us to make a move.”

Outfielder Mike Tauchman and left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. were recalled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. New York had an open roster spot after lefty Stephen Tarpley was sent down this week.

The Yankees also traded utilityman Brad Miller to Philadelphia for cash. Miller, who hit 30 homers for Tampa Bay in 2016, agreed to a minor league contract with New York on April 22.

Boone mentioned Cortes as a possibility for Saturday night’s start against Chicago. The Yankees also could go with an opener.

Morales, who turns 36 next Thursday, was acquired in a May 15 trade with Oakland. He is batting .177 with a homer and five RBIs in 19 games with New York.

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AP freelance writer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.

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