Juan Soto returns to Yankees’ lineup as Aaron Judge gets first day off

Juan Soto returned to action on Monday, rejoining the Yankees‘ lineup in Kansas City after missing three games with left forearm inflammation.

Soto’s absence technically began four games ago, when the slugger exited the Yankees’ June 6 win over the Twins following a 56-minute rain delay. Soto had been experiencing discomfort in his forearm for a week and a half or so, and the Yankees erred on the side of caution after the superstar had trouble getting loose after the delay.

Soto underwent imaging on Friday, which revealed the forearm inflammation and cleared him of any potential elbow concerns. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Soto would receive treatment and medicine for the injury, but no shots.

On Monday, Soto found himself batting second and DH'ing against the Royals. Boone previously said that Soto would be OK to play the field once he returned, but the manager wanted to ease the player back in for the series-opener.

“The answers we got back from the testing, we’re not worried about him doing anything that he’s gotta do baseball-wise,” Boone said Sunday. “It’s just based on how he’s doing, how he’s feeling. He should be good to go.”

It’s not like Soto to miss games, as he played in all 162 contests with the Padres last year. The 25-year-old impending free agent has been excellent in his first season with the Yankees, hitting .318/.424/.603 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs prior to Monday.

While Soto returned to the lineup, Aaron Judge found himself out of it for the first time all year. The American League Player of the Week received his first off day after playing in the Yankees’ first 67 games.

Judge has also been sensational, slashing .305/.436/.703 with a league-leading 24 homers. He’s also added 59 RBIs.

With Judge out of the lineup and Soto out of the field, Jahmai Jones started in right. Meanwhile, Trent Grisham handled center again after drilling a game-winning homer in Sunday’s win over the Dodgers.

Anthony Rizzo was also out of Monday’s lineup. Boone benched the struggling first baseman for the series finale against the Dodgers and said he would consider giving Rizzo another day on Monday.

DJ LeMahieu manned first for the second straight game.