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Yankees have Aaron Judge ‘penciled in’ for Saturday return after taking a few days off

TAMPA, Fla. — Aaron Judge’s break from swinging is almost over.

Manager Aaron Boone said that he has the Yankees captain “penciled in” to Saturday’s lineup against the Blue Jays. Judge hasn’t been taking cuts since an ab issue prompted an MRI, which came back clean on Monday.

“The testing they did showed nothing,” Boone said Wednesday, noting that Judge will probably play center against Toronto. “So I think this is really being cautious and trying to get out ahead of something.”

The manager added that the plan is for Judge to play two of three games before the Yankees’ off day on Tuesday. The team travels to Fort Myers to play the Red Sox on Sunday before hosting the Phillies on Monday. It makes sense for Judge to skip the road trip.

While Judge received treatment on Wednesday, Boone said that a ramp-up is not necessary and that the Yankees don’t view the ab issue as something that the slugger is coming back from.

“He’s fine,” Boone said.

Judge said much of the same on Tuesday after his early departure from Sunday’s game — and Gerrit Cole’s elbow — caused fans to panic.

“I’m not too worried about it,” Judge said shortly before doing some defensive work. “The most important thing is opening day, and I’d rather take some days now and be smart about it. I think that’s what comes with old age, is being a little smarter about taking care of your body.”

Loáisiga’s Debut

Jonathan Loáisiga is expected to make his spring debut on Thursday against the Tigers. Boone said the reliever will likely pitch more than one inning and up to two, depending on efficiency.

Multiple elbow injuries, including surgery to remove a bone spur, limited Loáisiga to 17 games last year. The righty’s season ended in mid-September with elbow inflammation.

Reassignments

The Yankees reassigned reliever Duane Underwood Jr. and infielder Josh VanMeter to minor league camp on Wednesday. VanMeter had been mentioned as a candidate for one of the Yankees’ bench spots, but he’s hit .091 this spring and has not played in the majors since 2022.