CHICAGO -- The New York Yankees' biggest reinforcements are almost back.
Both outfielders will be reporting to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and are expected in the lineup Friday night. The Yankees minor league affiliate has a three-game series at the Durham Bulls beginning Friday.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Thursday before his team's series opener at the Chicago White Sox that Stanton likely would spend the full series with the RailRiders before getting an off day Monday and then being inserted back into the Bronx Bombers' lineup at home against Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Judge, meanwhile, will probably be looking at a slightly longer stint with the RailRiders, Boone indicated.
The Yankees have missed both power hitters since April, when they were lost along with several others as an early-season injury bug ravaged the roster. In all, 20 players have been on the Yankees' injured list since spring training, with only six having returned from it. Currently, 14 players are on the Yankees' IL, including Stanton and Judge.
Stanton has played in only three games this season, going on the IL on April 1 with a left biceps strain. He's batting .250 (2-for-8) with no homers, no RBIs and one run scored this season. Nearly a month into his rehab stint, the biceps injury improved, but Stanton was suddenly afflicted with a left shoulder injury.
He eventually got over that shoulder issue. But while he was participating in a live batting practice session last month at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Stanton was hit by a pitch around his left knee/calf. The hit-by-pitch left him with a calf strain that he's been rehabbing for nearly the past month. Boone indicated that he has healed from that.
Judge went on the IL on April 21 after suffering a left oblique injury during a swing the day before. For most of the past four weeks, Judge has slowly worked himself into throwing again, performing defensive drills and eventually to swinging a bat in live batting practice and extended spring training simulations.
Following two live hitting sessions at the Yankees' complex in Tampa earlier this week, he has progressed to the point of participating in rehab games with the RailRiders.
Before getting injured, Judge was batting .288 with a .925 OPS. He also had five homers and 11 RBIs in 20 games.
The Yankees, meanwhile, are currently on a 16-game homer-hitting streak, despite being without both superstar power hitters.