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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 9/19/18

Rain allowed Judge to return yesterday; Gardner accepts reduced role; Chapman back today or tomorrow; What to expect of Sheffield

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images | Bryan Hoch: When yesterday’s game was originally supposed to happen at 1 PM, Aaron Judge wasn’t in the lineup. However rain in the forecast pushed the game back to 7 PM and allowed time for Judge to receive medical clearance to play after his second consecutive day with a simulated game. The Yankees had quite a few people on-hand to watch Judge’s at-bats and felt comfortable with their decision. YAY JUDGE! Pinstripe Alley gained exclusive footage of when Aaron Boone got the okay:

New York Post | George A. King III: With Judge in the lineup, one absence was obvious: Brett Gardner. He’s essentially on fourth outfielder duty (assuming Giancarlo Stanton, who is a Yankee!, as the full-time DH). Gardner is taking it in stride and understands that at this point in the year, it’s about the team and not himself. He accepts whatever decisions Aaron Boone makes that helps the Yankees win and will be ready if/when his number is called. Boone read my blog because right now Andrew McCutchen and Aaron Hicks are better players. | Chad Thornburg: Judge wasn’t the only injured star the Yankees got good news on yesterday. Closer Aroldis Chapman, who’s been on the DL since August 22nd, will either be activated today or tomorrow. He threw a bullpen on Saturday and followed that with 22 pitches in a simulated game on Monday and came away feeling great. The Yankees are slowly getting back to 100% as the playoffs approach. | Jim Callis: Yesterday, the Yankees also officially signed Justus Sheffield to a Major League contract and called up Domingo German to help bolster the bullpen down the stretch. Here’s a look at what can be expected of Sheffield, the top prospect in the organization. While he’s still looked at as a starter, he was shifted to a bullpen role so he can help the Yankees right now. He had a 2.91 ERA in seven appearances out of the bullpen and he could pitch his way onto a playoff roster if he does well in the big leagues.