A wrist injury that will sideline Aaron Judge for at least three weeks overshadowed the Yankees’ 7-2 win over Kansas City on Thursday night.
Judge was hit in the right wrist by a pitch in the first inning, and the team announced on Twitter after the game that he suffered “a chip fracture.’’ It will be approximately three weeks before “Judge can swing a bat in a game situation,” though “no surgery has been recommended,” the team added.
He stayed in the game and reached on an infield single in the third but was taken out for a pinch hitter in the fourth. He left Yankee Stadium for an MRI and a CT scan, manager Aaron Boone said.
“I’m concerned obviously any time our players have to leave the game with something,” Boone said after the game but before Judge’s status was announced. “Obviously, Judgie is so important.”
Referring to his decision to remove Judge in the fourth, Boone said, “Just in watching him swing underneath, we didn’t feel like his strength was there that he needed. At the time, we didn’t want to take any more chances with it.”
Boone said he didn’t think Judge made the injury worse during the third-inning at-bat.
Judge was not the only Yankee who needed an MRI after the game, as Sonny Gray was struck on his right thumb by a batted ball in the fifth. Gray completed the inning to cap a third straight solid outing, but the comebacker prevented him from going deeper into the game.
Gray was not able to get his MRI immediately because the technician went with Judge to the hospital, Boone said. He also said it was “part of” why he took out Gray after the fifth.
“I don’t think it’s anything too serious. Once you sit down, you feel throbbing,” Gray said. “I think they wanted to be cautious and get [me] out of the game there and move forward. I fully expect to pitch in five or six days, whenever my next start is.”
Gray (8-7, 5.08 ERA) struck out five and allowed three hits and two walks in five shutout innings. He has allowed two earned runs and struck out 19 in 16 1⁄3 innings in his last three starts.
“That was what’s unfortunate. I felt really good and then you get hit in the hand and [have] to battle through the fifth there,” he said “That’s what kind of [stunk] there, not being able to continue on.”
Before MRI results became their main concern, the Yankees (65-36) moved within 4 1⁄2 games of the AL East-leading Red Sox.
After Judge was hit by the pitch and Didi Gregorius doubled in the first, Giancarlo Stanton opened the scoring against Jakob Junis (5-11, 5.06) with a sacrifice fly. Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi misplayed Gleyber Torres’ two-out grounder, allowing Gregorius to score.
Austin Romine hit an RBI double in the fourth, and Mondesi then committed a two-out throwing error to extend the inning. Gregorius hit a three-run homer on the next pitch to give the Yankees a 6-0 lead.
After singles by Aaron Hicks and Torres, Greg Bird hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Mike Moustakas doubled and Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer off Adam Warren in the sixth to bring the Royals within 7-2.
After a pair of singles against Chasen Shreve in the ninth, Whit Merrifield singled to center. Even though the Royals trailed by five runs, Alex Gordon tried to score, and Hicks easily threw him out to end the game.