Yankees’ Aaron Judge Injury Update: Time will be missed

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Apr 18, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees cannot afford to lose superstar outfielder Aaron Judge. Recently, Judge signed a nine-year, $360 million contract extension with the team and has had a solid start this season. His numbers have varied considerably in the past couple of weeks, but he is currently hitting .261 with a .352 OBP, six home runs, 14 RBIs, and a 32.4% strikeout rate. While this is higher than his 25.1% rate in 2022, he maintains a 13% walk rate, which should improve if he can lower his strikeout rate.

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The Yankees are in trouble without Aaron Judge:

On Thursday night, the Yankees had to remove Judge from the game due to right hip discomfort, resulting from an awkward slide that nearly forced him out of the match against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. Initially, it was believed that a wrist injury was the main concern, but he experienced some pain on his right side on Thursday, indicating that he might only need a few days of rest to fully recover.

Judge mentioned that he would likely miss the next few games, requiring the Yankees to find a replacement for their top hitter. With six consecutive games before their next off day, the Yankees will face three more games against the Rangers and a three-game series against the Cleveland Guardians, marking their second meeting this year.

Ideally, the Yankees should let Judge rest for the remainder of the Texas series, given their four consecutive losses and the apparent upper hand held by the Bombers. It remains to be seen how their offense will respond, particularly with their thin outfield.

The Yankees have been limiting Aaron Hicks’s playing time recently, as he has been hitting only .147 with a .237 OBP over 14 games. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been regularly starting in centerfield, with a .163 batting average and a .217 OBP across 19 games. Franchy Cordero might have no choice but to start soon, despite his .160 batting average, .192 OBP, and 63 wRC+. Even super utility player Oswaldo Cabrera has struggled at the plate, hitting .211 with a .238 OBP. Aside from Judge and Stanton, the Yankees’ entire outfield poses an offensive liability, making Harrison Bader’s return crucial.

For now, the Yankees require significant production from the top of their batting order, particularly from Anthony Volpe, Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres. However, someone in the outfield must step up and perform until Judge is back in action.