The New York Yankees will be without the strongest bat in their lineup for the next week and possibly longer.
Aaron Judge, the league’s leading home run hitter in 2020, was placed on the injured list Friday with a strained right calf. The move is retroactive to Aug. 12, meaning the soonest he can return is Aug. 22.
Aaron Boone said that the #Yankees are placing Aaron Judge on the injured list. He has a strain of his calf.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) August 14, 2020
Manager Aaron Boone believes the injury is the result of "wear and tear" and not a specific moment. When Judge was missing from Wednesday’s lineup, Boone noted that he wanted to get him rest after playing on the turf at Tropicana Field last weekend. The message on Friday was that Judge’s IL trip is precautionary. Now Yankees’ fans will hold their breath hoping that’s the case.
When Giancarlo Stanton suffered a Grade 1 calf strain in February, he barely made it back in time for the Yankees’ season opener on July 23. That shows how delicate the process can be.
The Yankees realize that having Judge healthy for October is the most important factor. Sacrificing games now, when it shouldn’t really hurt their postseason chances, would make sense.
Aaron Judge's hot start
Judge has been among the hottest hitters in MLB this season. He leads the league in home runs (nine), RBIs (20), runs scored (16) and slugging percentage (.758).
Replacing that production won't be easy. But the Yankees do have one of MLB's deepest lineups.
Clint Frazier filled in admirably for Judge in Wednesday's game, going 3-for-4 with a home run, double and two runs scored in a 6-3 win against the Atlanta Braves. Frazier figures to be a lineup fixture for as long as Judge is out.
Aaron Judge's injury history
Unfortunately, playing without Judge is nothing new for the Yankees. He’s had trouble staying healthy since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2017.
In 2018, Judge missed six weeks with a broken wrist. Last season, he was limited to 102 games due to a strained oblique suffered in April. He also would have started the 2020 season on the injured list after suffering a fractured rib in spring training.
The Yankees were able to overcome each of Judge’s previous injuries. Most importantly, he’s yet to miss a postseason game. However, the Yankees have to hope this doesn’t become the recurring theme with the centerpiece of their lineup.
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