Thursday night’s postgame celebration cost Aaron Judge half of his left front tooth. He and the Yankees nonetheless came away feeling fortunate that’s all it was.
“Got it fixed and we’re good to go,” said Judge, who hit his 33rd homer of the season Friday night after a morning visit to the dentist repaired the tooth.
Judge took the blow to the mouth, courtesy of a batting helmet, as he and the Yankees celebrated after Brett Gardner’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning beat the Rays, 6-5.
“The helmet rolled in the middle of everybody, I didn’t want people jumping [on it] and breaking an ankle, so I just picked it up,” Judge said. “And as everybody was jumping up and down, I just hit it on someone’s back and it got me.”
He smiled. “I tried to rush off the field before anyone noticed, but there’s a lot of cameras around,” he said.
Minutes after the game, Judge became aware that his helmet-to-tooth moment had gone viral, with teammates rushing up to him in the players’ lounge. “When I was back there trying to figure out how I was going to get it fixed,” he said, “people were coming up to me [saying], ‘Look what’s on Twitter!’ But we’re good. Everything’s good.”
The Yankees could laugh afterward, but players have been seriously injured in postgame celebrations. In 2010, the Angels’ Kendrys Morales broke his left leg leaping into a postgame scrum at the plate after his walk-off grand slam.
“It’s hard to do anything about it,” Joe Girardi said, “because emotions take over.”
Indications are that A’s righthander Sonny Gray is there to be had for the Yankees if general manager Brian Cashman is willing to part with at least one, and maybe more, of his top prospects from a group that includes outfielder Clint Frazier, infielder Gleyber Torres, outfielder/infielder Jorge Mateo and infielder Miguel Andujar. That has been the case for at least a couple of weeks and had not changed as of Friday.