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Yankees officially activate Aaron Judge, place Oswald Peraza (ankle) on the IL

The reigning AL MVP will hope to lift New York out of last place in the AL East amid a torrent of injuries.

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium on April 19, 2023 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

This had been the plan for several days, but given the way things have gone for the New York Yankees so far this year you’ll excuse fans for holding their breath until the news is official: Aaron Judge has been activated off the IL and will be in the lineup on Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics.

Judge strained his hip late last month on a slide into third base against the Minnesota Twins, but the outfielder told reporters that he’s now been pain-free for the last five days and feels 100 percent.

Of course, because these are the 2023 Yankees we’re talking about, Judge’s return was balanced out by another regular going on the injured list — this time it’s Oswald Peraza, a top-100 prospect the team called up to replace Giancarlo Stanton a few weeks ago. Peraza sprained his ankle against the Cleveland Guardians last week, and while the team was hopeful he could avoid the IL, he’d missed each of New York’s last four games and didn’t appear to be healing quickly enough.

Judge’s return couldn’t come at a better time for a Yankees team that finds itself mired in last place in the rugged AL East. Injuries to Judge, Stanton, Josh Donaldson and the recently-returned Harrison Bader have exposed a lineup that was already lacking in depth, while the absence of Luis Severino and Carlos Rodon has forced the team to rely on Jhony Brito (6.08 ERA), Clarke Schmidt (5.83) and Domingo German (4.35). Judge won’t fix all of that by himself, but he was easily New York’s best player before going on the shelf, with an .863 OPS, six homers and two steals over his first 26 games. The Yankees have shown signs of life recently, with four wins in their last six amid two tough, one-run losses to the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays, so if they can ever get healthy — an “if” the size of the Grand Canyon, admittedly — the talent could be here to make a run.