The New York Yankees welcomed back star slugger Aaron Judge from the injured list following his recovery from a torn ligament in his right big toe.
Aaron Judge Returns to Boost Yankees’ Offensive Power
Despite his recent injury, Judge’s performance across two games has been nothing short of stellar. He showcased a remarkable .500 batting average and a .667 OBP, hitting one homer, two RBIs, and accumulating three walks and three hits, culminating in a 1.667 OPS from merely six at-bats. Despite the small sample size, this impressive production level further underlines Judge’s immense value to the Yankees’ offensive line-up.
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An Essential Precautionary Step
The Yankees, currently in last place, are in dire need of a win against the Baltimore Orioles ahead of the looming trade deadline. However, team manager Aaron Boone is planning to bench Judge as a precautionary measure. Boone stated, “As much as I want to run him every day, forget the toe, he hasn’t come close to even playing games for almost two months. As much as I want him in there, we’ve got to be smart here.”
Brian Cashman’s Trade Deadline Considerations
Understanding Judge’s capability for elite performances, General Manager Brian Cashman is considering using the upcoming deadline to enhance the offense. If Judge hadn’t returned to his MVP form, the team might have decided to sell and offload contracts, preparing for the 2024 season.
The Yankees are more inclined to buy, despite being eight games back in the AL East and 3.5 games back from the Houston Astros for the third Wild Card spot.
The Irreplaceable Value of Aaron Judge
Utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa highlighted Judge’s vital role in the Yankees’ offense. Judge was in the midst of an MVP campaign before his second stint on the injured list this season. He is currently hitting an impressive .298 with a .414 OBP, boasting 20 homers, 42 RBIs, a 17.1% walk rate, and a 193 wRC+ for the year.
Kiner-Falefa commented, “That’s why he gets the big bucks. He’s the captain for a reason. He means everything to this organization. You see the difference in energy, with and without. It’s pretty self-explanatory. The fans rise up when he’s in the lineup.”
Concluding Thoughts: A Timely Break for Judge
Giving Judge a day off now may seem untimely, considering the team’s current position. However, it makes sense as the Yankees are trying to avoid any exacerbation of his injury. The veteran outfielder seems to be moving well without any apparent favoritism towards his left foot, yet there is a balance between pain and tolerance that Judge needs to manage.