BALTIMORE – Aaron Boone said late Tuesday night Aaron Judge had been sore in recent days dealing with "some lower body stuff," and that the rightfielder would likely sit one of the next two games against the Orioles.
That came Wednesday night as Judge was not in the starting lineup, replaced in right by Clint Frazier.
And while Boone stressed – as he did Tuesday – he doesn’t have any long-term concerns regarding Judge, the fourth-year manager didn’t guarantee he would be back for Thursday afternoon’s series finale, either.
"My hope would be that he’d be in there tomorrow, but we’ll get through today and make sure he’s feeling like he needs to feel going into tomorrow, a day game here," Boone said.
Boone, though saying Judge would be available to pinch hit Wednesday night "in a big enough spot," the manager did say he would have a "light" day of prep work, which would not include BP outdoors with his teammates.
Boone declined to specify – the case Tuesday night – the area Judge was feeling soreness.
"A little banged in a number of areas in the lower body," Boone said Wednesday.
Any time Judge is off the field, of course, it sends a degree of panic through the Yankees fan base because of his past. Durability questions have surrounded Judge, who turned 29 Monday, since after his breakout 2017 season when he won AL Rookie of the Year honors, playing in 155 games. Since then, various injuries have kept him to 112 games in 2018, 102 games in 2019 and 28 games in last year’s 60-game COVID-19 shortened season.
Boone indicated sitting Judge, who entered Wednesday hitting .263 but with five homers and an .885 OPS in 21 games, was more preemptive than anything.
"He’s been a little bit sore the last couple of days, so kind of trying to be out in front of something," Boone said. "With all these guys, Aaron included, you have to play a little bit of the long game, too, and it’s about having our best players available as much as we possibly can. That’s how you kind of weigh these things all the time."