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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 9/19/22

Judge hits 58 and 59; Yankees have Montas’ MRI results but mulling next steps; Where Judge stands in the Triple Crown watch; Hicks discusses future; Rizzo returns with a bang

New York Yankees v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images | Bryan Hoch On a day in which the entire Yankees offense seemed to click, Aaron Judge made a giant leap towards history by hitting his 58th and 59th home runs. He already has the most home runs by a right-handed American League hitter in a single season, and is pushing the AL’s record, set by Roger Maris in 1961 with 61 blasts.

Sunday’s 12-8 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers was a reminder, additionally, that Judge is fighting for the Triple Crown and the MVP award, too.

“It’s not too difficult if your main focus and your main objective is to go out there and win a game,” Judge said, per “The numbers, they’re just numbers. I’m focused on doing what I can to be a good teammate and help the team win. If that means hitting a homer, it means hitting a homer, but it’s never been my focus.”

He is thisclose to making history on several fronts, and we are all witnesses.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert The Yankees already have Frankie Montas’ MRI results on his right shoulder, but according to Ackert, the team is waiting for team doctors to read them before making a decision. Manager Aaron Boone said before Sunday’s game that the injured list is a possibility.

“It’s possible. I mean, that’s speculating,” he stated. “We were waiting on Dr. (Christopher) Ahmad to weigh in on this.” The righty came out of his Friday start with shoulder impingement, a similar problem than the one that sidelined him for several weeks in July. For what it’s worth, the pitcher said he woke up feeling better than expected on Saturday. | Manny Randhawa: By going 4-for-5 on an extremely productive Sunday, Aaron Judge increased his batting average to .316. Where does he stand in the fight for the Triple Crown?

With 59 homers and 127 RBI, he has those two categories all but locked up. With his .316 batting average, he is tied for second in the AL with Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts behind the Twins’ Luis Arraez, who has a .317 mark. Judge is very close to becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Miguel Cabrera in 2012, and the first by a Yankee since Mickey Mantle did it in 1956.

New York Post | Dan Martin: Aaron Hicks’ playing time has been dwindling since he made that costly fielding error during the Yanks’ last homestand, and with Harrison Bader nearing a return, things are not exactly looking up for him.

“I expect [Bader] to come in and start playing every day, as he should,” Hicks said Saturday. “He got traded here to help us win. We need him to be himself to win a World Series. When I get opportunities, I’ll try to make the most of them, but it’s extremely hard when I play a game and then I’m off for three days and now there’s another outfielder out there.”

He knows he could be playing somewhere else next year, but is ready to wait for what the Yankees decide to do. “The Yankees are gonna have to make a decision and I’ll wait for whatever happens. It’s not really my call,” he explained. The outfielder has seen his defense decline and has a poor 85 wRC+ this year.

NJ Advance Media | Randy Miller: First baseman Anthony Rizzo made his long-awaited return to the Yankees lineup after spending several days on the shelf with back issues and then headaches. He did it in style, going 3-for-6 with a homer, two runs and an RBI.

Before the game, manager Aaron Boone said the team is getting a key cog, just in time. “With Carpenter down and Benintendi down, (Rizzo) adds that formidable left-handed bat,” he stated. “He’s in the middle of a 30-homer season. He’s a leader on the field. He’s kind of an anchor for us over there at first base. So we’re getting one of our cornerstones back.”