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Aaron Judge arrives late, then comes through with RBI single to take lead

The Yankees' Aaron Judge strkes out against Rays

The Yankees' Aaron Judge strkes out against Rays starting pitcher Michael Wacha while pinch hitting during the fifth inning on Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Credit: AP/Chris O'Meara

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Aaron Judge, after throwing a huge scare into the Yankees fan base, appears to be just fine after all.

The rightfielder, activated from the COVID-19 IL Tuesday night, was announced as a scratch from Wednesday night’s game about 45 minutes before first pitch.

After the Yankees’ 3-1 victory over the Rays, Aaron Boone said Judge, who was inserted into the game in the fifth inning and would end up delivering the go-ahead hit in the 10th, was delayed because "he had to complete some doctors’ appointments" that included additional testing as a result of recently coming off of the COVID-19 injured list.

The appointments, which neither Judge nor Boone did not go into detail about, ran "late" and Judge did not arrive to the ballpark until around 6 p.m.

"So we had to scratch him, obviously," Boone said.

Judge, who went 1-for-4 with a strikeout in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory, struck out his first two times Wednesday but came through when the Yankees most needed it, bouncing an RBI single off the glove of Rays shortstop Wander Franco in the 10th that brought in Gio Urshela, who started the inning at second per MLB’s extra-innings rules, to make it 2-1.

Speaking for the first time since coming off the COVID IL, Judge said he only had moderate symptoms.

"I think the worst I got was maybe a headache and some sniffles," he said. "That's about it. I’ve had it worse [with a] cold or flu, whatever, in the past. So I was pretty upset I wasn't able to play and wasn’t able to be out there. But I was still working out, still swinging, still doing everything to stay ready."

Asked if he had received the vaccination, Judge said: "I'm not going to get into that. I don't think you've asked everybody [that] but it's something I’d like to keep talking to my doctor about."

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