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Brian Cashman sees Aaron Judge’s strikeouts as growing pains

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees strikes out in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Brian Cashman called Aaron Judge’s strikeouts “a bother,” but not something unexpected.

The 25-year-old rookie rightfielder came into Tuesday night’s start with a .169/.247/.338 slash line in 20 games, striking out 35 times in 65 at-bats.

“You saw that he struck out a lot last year in the second half of the season [after being promoted] to Triple-A,” Cashman said. “His second round of Triple-A, which was this year, was much better, so he’s someone that’s shown when he’s struggled he can get through it.”

Judge’s issues have been particularly bad of late, with 26 strikeouts in his last 39 at-bats entering Tuesday.

“Obviously, currently it’s a concern because we’re trying to win games,” Cashman said. “But because of his makeup, because of his efforts and the player that we know, we think it’s a growth process and these are termed as growing pains.”

Mitchell ready

Girardi tabbed righthander Bryan Mitchell, who broke his left toe at the end of spring training and has just two minor league outings under his belt since being activated from the DL, as Wednesday night’s starter.

Mitchell, 25, was the club’s best pitcher during the spring and had won a bullpen spot before getting hurt. In his most recent outing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Mitchell allowed one run and four hits over 5 1⁄3 innings, throwing 91 pitches.

“My last [outing] was my best one so far,” Mitchell said.

Looking ahead

Cashman said Greg Bird, who missed the season because of shoulder surgery but is expected to start instructional league games this month, and Tyler Austin will compete next spring for the first base job.

“May the best man win,” Cashman said.

Still a hit with Yankees

Don’t be surprised if Derek Shelton, fired Tuesday as the Rays’ hitting coach after seven years, resurfaces with the Yankees in some capacity before next season. Shelton, who spent six seasons coaching and managing in the Yankees’ system (1997-2002) is close with vice president of player development Gary Denbo and has a fan in Cashman. Shelton, who was signed through 2017 with the Rays, also served as the Indians hitting coach from June 2005-09.

New York Sports