According to Coley Harvey of ESPN.com, the slugger took 50 swings—25 of which were to hit the ball off the tee—prior to New York's Monday game against the Oakland Athletics. It was the first time Judge has swung since he suffered a chip fracture of his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch on July 26.
"It's moving in the right direction. It's definitely a big step," Judge said. "We're just excited and kind of on track with what we're going to one day accomplish. So I'm excited for the progress we're making so far."
Judge said he didn't feel pain while swinging, and manager Aaron Boone suggested he could be accelerating toward a return to the field with this progress.
"Once we get through this weekend, and if he continues to graduate, then you start really thinking about a possible timeline about maybe getting back," Boone said.
Harvey noted there is no official timetable since the original plan was for him to return in three weeks after the injury. It has been more than five weeks, and Judge won't have the option of minor league rehab games with the minor league regular season over.
This progress comes at a time when the Bronx Bombers are 7.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East and running out of realistic time to make a charge. However, they are still comfortably in the playoff picture at 4.5 games ahead of the Athletics for the top wild-card spot and 10 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners should Oakland make a charge.
New York has weathered Judge's setback with Giancarlo Stanton at designated hitter, and the trade acquisition of Andrew McCutchen provides important depth in right field.
Still, Judge's return to the lineup will make New York all the more dangerous in the postseason. The reigning American League Rookie of the Year and Silver Slugger winner has appeared in 99 games this season and is slashing .285/.398/.548 with 26 homers and 61 RBI.