aaron judge yankees
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The Yankees are still in a good spot to eventually qualify for the postseason. After all, it’s the middle of July and they’re just 2.5 games back of the final AL Wild Card spot. But as they keep struggling while waiting for Aaron Judge, it feels like the sky is falling.

New York was 35-25 the last time Judge was in the lineup. After dropping yet another game on Tuesday night, they’re 50-46 and a last-place team. Could the wait for their valuable slugger to return be close to over, though?

Manager Aaron Boone made it seem like a possibility while chatting with the guys at Jomboy Media. They tossed out the Subway Series as a possibility (July 25th at Yankee Stadium) and it wasn’t directly ruled out. The 2022 AL MVP has been running and taking batting practice, so you’d think he’s close to returning.

Well, he could be, but he also may not be. There are a couple of important tests Judge will have to undergo before getting the green light. Here’s what Boone said to reporters in Anaheim (quotes via NJ.com):

I don’t know when he gets to that point to where now we’re ready to play. I do feel like the things that he’s able to do now is kind of putting him close. But whether that’s days from now or weeks from now, I can’t answer because we have to get through those final hurdles where he really does things that allow him to play in the major leagues.

He’s running pretty well, but it’s one thing to run straight ahead and another thing to stopping and starting and then the unexpected things that happen when you’re in the midst of it. And then also being able to be at a really high level. When you’re taking BP and getting your swing off, it’s another thing to be in a game and take a difficult pitch and holding a checked swing and all those different things you need to be in a real comfortable spot to do.

There hasn’t been any kind of firm timeline given publicly since Judge went down with his toe injury in Los Angeles. And that continues to be the case. It all hinges on how he feels running the bases and doing things that can get close to simulating a Major League Baseball game.

If it happens this week and he can manage the pain, then maybe a July 25th return for the Subway Series is the target. But if he doesn’t feel good on the other side of these tests, the waiting game will continue.

So for now, we just sit and wait. You know, like we’ve been doing for about six weeks now.

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.