HOUSTON — The Yankees’ Juan Soto era is here.

It is only guaranteed to last one season, but Soto will make his highly anticipated Yankees debut on Thursday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“I can’t wait to watch him go out and tear up The Bronx,” manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday.

The Bronx won’t get to welcome Soto until next week, as the Yankees open the season with a seven-game road trip.

But Soto will be batting second Thursday with Aaron Judge behind him in what could be one of the game’s most dangerous offensive combinations.

The Yankees gave up a load of pitching depth to land Soto in a December trade with the Padres, despite the 25-year-old outfielder entering his walk year.

But the generational talent has the potential to elevate the Yankees lineup, bringing a much-needed left-handed and high on-base threat.

After starting to get to know Soto better during spring training, the Yankees have been impressed.

“Professional,” Judge said. “You see him from afar and the numbers he puts up and what he does on the field, but you never really see behind the scenes. This guy is showing up and doing his work. The other day, he didn’t like how he was swinging in the game, he’s back in the cage grinding with our hitting coaches. It’s just impressive to see up close and personal.

“And then when he steps on the field, what he can bring to a team — just the excitement, the thrill, the energy, it’s special.”

After crushing the ball early in camp, Soto cooled off a bit over the final few weeks and dropped out of the Yankees’ trip to Mexico City so he could fine-tune his swing back in Tampa.

But Boone believes he is in a good spot mentally and physically entering the season.

“I think he’s ready to roll,” Boone said.


DJ LeMahieu stayed back in Tampa to continue rehabbing from the significant bone bruise on his right foot that he sustained from fouling a ball off it on March 16.

The veteran third baseman, who will open the season on the injured list, is set to undergo another MRI exam on Friday.

Boone was asked whether LeMahieu’s absence would be short term.

“I hope so, but I don’t know,” Boone said. “I would just say as we ramped up — I know he went out for some ground balls that one day, it wasn’t great. The pain is still in there. So we wanted it to kind of be things that you’re able to tolerate. So whether that turns into hitting and fielding in a couple of days, I don’t know, but I know where he went out the other day and tried that, it wasn’t good enough.”


It turns out the Yankees had two players suffer an orbital fracture on the same day this week.

In addition to Oscar Gonzalez, who sustained a right orbital fracture from fouling a ball off his face in Monday’s exhibition in Mexico City, infield prospect Jorbit Vivas was also diagnosed with a left orbital fracture after getting injured in a pregame workout back in Tampa.

Vivas is set to see an ophthalmologist Thursday and more specialists Friday. Gonzalez, meanwhile, is out of the hospital in Mexico City, will see an ophthalmologist Thursday and could fly back to Tampa this weekend.

Boone said neither player had a timetable for a return, but both are expected to start their season at Triple-A when healthy.

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