CLEVELAND — Joe Girardi figured Aaron Judge could use a mental break.
After all, nothing else has worked to this point to drag the rookie rightfielder from his second-half slump.
“He’s struggling and we felt we’d give him a day off,” Girardi said before Thursday night’s series opener. “You can try to do a lot of different ways when guys are struggling; you can keep running them out there, and I just felt maybe a day off will do him some good.”
Judge, after pulling into the break with a .329/.448/.691 slash line, with a 1.139 OPS, has a .164/.313/.343 slash line in 19 games with a .657 OPS since returning.
Earlier in the season when Girardi gave Judge a day off, he said he was “physically beat up,” not the case this time.
“It’s been a struggle for him,” Girardi said. “I think mechanically he’s a little bit off and he’s missing some pitches he wasn’t missing the first half.”
Girardi gave DH Matt Holliday, 11-for-77 (.143) since coming off the DL, the night off for the same reason as Judge.
“Hoping it helps him, too,” Girardi said. “Hopefully they can work on some things today and get it straightened out.”
Back home, sort of
Clint Frazier, in a 3-for-18 slide, was drafted and developed by the Indians before being traded to the Yankees as part of the Andrew Miller trade last year.
“I spent a lot of my professional career in their minor league system and I spent a lot of it envisioning myself playing on this field [Progressive Field],” Frazier said. “I’m really excited to be here [with the Yankees] and fortunate to have a great group of guys in that locker room that I get to call my teammates.”
Greg Bird (right ankle) did tee-and-toss drills Thursday and played catch.
“We’ll continue to increase his activity slowly,” Girardi said.