Yankees hopeful Aaron Judge can avoid IL, return during series with Cleveland after hip strain

The Yankees fell 15-2 to the Rangers on Sunday, marking their third straight loss since Judge's hip injury

As long as things keep progressing, Aaron Judge could make his return for the New York Yankees early this week.

Judge has been battling a hip strain since Thursday’s series opener against the Texas Rangers. He hasn’t played since, and the Yankees expect to make a decision about whether he will need to land on the injured list.

Best-case scenario, manager Aaron Boone said Sunday, is that Judge makes his return sometime during the Yankees’ three-game series against the Cleveland Guardians, which starts Monday in New York.

"I know he came in feeling a little bit better today," Boone said Sunday via The Associated Press. "I'm sure he'll go through everything, and we'll evaluate where we are."

Judge was pulled from the Yankees' 4-2 win over the Rangers in the fourth inning Thursday. He struck out twice before then, and an MRI on Saturday revealed a mild hip strain. It’s unclear exactly how Judge hurt his hip, but he went down after an awkward slide into third base the day before against the Minnesota Twins.

He hasn’t played since.

Judge is hitting .261 and has six home runs in 26 games this season. He had not missed a game until Friday.

The team has struggled without him. The Yankees lost three straight to end the four-game series and fell 15-2 on Sunday. They scored a combined four runs over three days with Judge out of the lineup.