Yankees star Juan Soto (hand) returns to lineup

New York Yankees star Juan Soto was back in right field on Sunday after the team initially said he would miss his second consecutive game against the host Toronto Blue Jays because of a bruised right hand.

Soto also was back to his hot hitting, connecting for a single off Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman in the first inning and scoring on Aaron Judge’s 31st home run of the season.

Soto injured his hand sliding into home plate in the fourth inning of New York’s 16-5 win over Toronto on Friday. He was a late scratch on Saturday, and his status for Sunday’s game was uncertain after X-rays came back negative later Saturday.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone had Soto out of the lineup again Sunday before reversing the decision.

“Pretty significant improvement from where he was yesterday with the treatment he was able to get,” Boone said earlier Sunday.

“I don’t want him compromising anything or changing his swing,” Boone added. “If there’s any of that, we’ll wait.”

The team is considering having Soto have an MRI or CT scan on Monday in New York.

A three-time All-Star, Soto said he felt the injury “right away” when he safely touched home plate with his left hand and rolled over on his right.

“I felt it right away,” Soto said on Sunday. “I told the trainers and they were checking me out. I told them, ‘It’s probably going to take a minute to go away.’ But it kept being there. They wrapped it up in the middle of the game and put a couple of things to help me out with the pain. I just played through it.”

In fact, he smashed a three-run homer in the sixth inning on Friday after staying in the game.

“You just forget about the hand and worry about the pitcher. That’s what you’ve got to do,” Soto said. “When you’re in there and your blood is going, everything is going, you just forget about everything. You just try to compete and try to win the game for your team.”

Soto, 25, entered Sunday batting .302 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs and a 1.005 OPS in his first season with the Yankees. He was leading the majors in on-base percentage (.434) and walks (69).

–Field Level Media