Posted on September 14, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge suffered an oblique injury during Tuesday’s win against the Los Angeles Dodgers that could keep him out for the rest of the season. He will have an MRI on Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury. An injury at this point in the season would be a disappointing conclusion to the rookie’s season and a minor blow to New York’s slim playoff hopes.
Judge winced during a swing in the 4th inning, prompting manager Joe Girardi to check on him. Judge stayed in the game and ultimately drew a walk. He was then forced out at second base on a ground ball by Ronald Torreyes, during which it was obvious his running was affected. It was at that point that he was removed from the game.
“The way he was running told me that he was just trying to gut it out,” Girardi explained after the game. “I just told him, ‘You’re out.’ That was the conversation. I said we have to get this checked out, see where you’re at.”
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“It’s kind of tough to describe: it was a 2-0 changeup — it was sort of a little pull or something … probably the follow-through [where] I felt something a little bit,” Judge said. “Once I got on base and the ground ball that Torreyes hit — going to second base — I felt it then.”
When asked about Judge missing the rest of the season, Girardi replied, “It’s possible,” adding “We won’t see him for a while.”
“This is the first time I’ve dealt with something like this,” Judge said Tuesday night. “It’s tough. No one wants to deal with an injury, especially right now. We’re in a race.”
The loss of Judge isn’t a huge loss for the Yankees from an offensive standpoint, as he’s hit just .179 since making his big league debut last month. However, he has hit four home runs during his first month in the big leagues, bringing some power to New York’s lineup. The Yankees also would have liked to see as much of him as possible to help determine if he’ll be ready to be the team’s opening day right fielder next season or whether he may benefit from additional seasoning in the minors.
Losing Judge is also a hit to New York’s outfield depth, which has been virtually non-existent heading down the stretch, with Aaron Hicks suffering a hamstring injury earlier this month. Tyler Austin could step into right field, although he’s played primarily first base since coming up alongside Judge last month. Eric Young Jr. is another possibility, although he has just two at bats since joining the Yankees two weeks ago.
Girardi mentioned the possibility of bringing up a player or two from the minors to help the Yankees outfield over the final few weeks. “There are outfielders [in the system] that are a possibility that we’re going to have to talk about,” Girardi said Tuesday. New York’s affiliates in triple-A and double-A are both still alive in the minor league playoffs, so there would be no rust on any players called up to replace Judge.
As of Wednesday, the Yankees remain two games out of a wild card spot in the American League, and after Wednesday’s series finale with the Dodgers, the Yankees play all of their remaining games against divisional opponents, giving them a chance to play their way into the postseason. However, it looks like they’ll be attempting to do so without Judge.