Is Aaron Judge 100% healthy? No, manager Aaron Boone said on Sunday.
But the struggling slugger is doing better with his mysterious lower leg issues. The Yankees don’t want a small problem to turn into a big one. So Judge was out of the lineup against the Nationals at Yankee Stadium.
Judge walked as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of the Yankees’ 3-2 victory. He is batting .245 with seven homers and an .824 OPS.
"I still think he's dealing with some lower leg [issues] and stuff," Boone said before the game. But he added, "He's been doing better, I feel like, better and better all week physically."
The Yankees had an 11-inning game on Saturday and are off Monday before beginning a three-game series against the Rays on the turf at Tropicana Field on Tuesday.
"Just trying to be proactive and keep him going," Boone said. "Hopefully this is something that keeps him strong physically."
Judge, who was out of the lineup for two games before the homestand with a lower-body ailment the Yankees have declined to define, has two hits in his last 24 at-bats with 14 strikeouts.
On Saturday, Judge said, "I’ve been terrible at the plate" lately.
"I've seen him get some really good swings off on pitches," Boone said. "I feel like he’s been pitched really tough this homestand. But the pitches he has gotten within an at-bat, he's missing or fouling off or whatever, and then with two strikes, they’ve gotten him to expand a little bit.
"This game, and hitting now, is about when you do get a pitch, you’ve got to stick it. You’ve got to put it in play with authority. He's probably fouled off a little too much, too many of those pitches the last few days. But not something I'm worried about with him."
Voit expected back this week
Boone said he expects to welcome Luke Voit back during the Rays series, perhaps as early as Tuesday.
On Sunday, Voit went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs as the DH for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He is 7-for-18 (.389) with three homers and six RBIs during his rehab stint after March knee surgery.
Said Boone: "He obviously is an impact hitter, an impact bat that just adds a little bit more length and a little bit more heaviness, obviously, to our lineup. So it would be good to get him back. Feel like he's in a good spot physically. He's been able to rack up a lot of live at-bats now here this past week, so looking forward to getting him, for sure."
Boone also said he hopes Gio Urshela, who missed the last three games with a sore knee, will return on Tuesday.
The Yankees optioned Miguel Andujar to Scranton after Sunday’s game. Andujar went 0-for-9 after being recalled on Friday.