The New York Yankees may not have needed star slugger Aaron Judge on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox, but there’s no question he makes their offense far more potent.
The 6’7″, 282-pound outfielder is hitting .287 with a 36.6% on-base rate this season. He’s generated 30 homers and 64 RBIs with a 24.9% strikeout rate, the lowest in his career. He’s also posting an 11.5% walk rate, 59.5% hard-hit rate, and 25.2% barrel rate.
Judge is well on his way toward an MVP-caliber season, but he was scratched from Thursday night’s lineup due to a lower-body issue.
“Been feeling it for a week or so,” Judge said. “Just taking a chance to take a day and make sure everything’s all right, make sure it’s nothing more than it is and keep it rolling.”
Sitting him seems to be more precautionary than anything since Aaron Boone indicated that he could pinch-hit if needed late in the game against Boston.
“I think it’s more Boonie (taking) precaution with this,” Judge said, “especially with the lead we have right now, the way this team is swinging the bat. It’s better to take one day now than miss two weeks.”
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The Yankees performed well without their best player:
Without Judge, the Yankees scored six runs, courtesy of a grand slam from Josh Donaldson in the top of the 3rd inning. Aaron Hicks followed it up with a solo shot of his own, with the winning run coming on an infield double by José Treviño.
The Yankees felt as though Judge needed a cautionary rest today, making sure the lower body issue wasn’t anything too serious.
“We talked about it a couple of days ago,” Judge said. “We kind of tried to map it out, figure out what would be the best time and place. Today worked out. Time to get back to work.”
The expectation is that Judge will return on Friday night against Boston to his regular position in centerfield. That will shift Aaron Hicks over to left field and potentially feature Joey Gallo or Giancarlo Stanton in right.