The Yankees weren’t eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday because their game against the Diamondbacks was postponed, but this means Aaron Judge could end his season by Sunday, even if he’s not feeling well. It means there is no.
He’s almost certain to be back in the lineup Sunday against the Diamondbacks, or whenever the Yankees play again weather permitting, and that alone should be enough to keep people watching in the Bronx.
But even after hitting three home runs at Stadium on Friday (the second three-homer game of his career this season), manager Aaron Boone remains concerned about Judge’s long-term health even after the playoffs officially end. He acknowledged the team’s plans to keep it a top priority. .
That would take precedence over 40 home runs or any other milestone Judge would aim for — which isn’t out of the question now that he’s 35 years old.
“I think it’s important for him right now to play and set the tone.” [and] To set an example for the young players we develop,” Boone said Friday night. “We … strive to have his best interests and our best interests in mind.”
But for now, the show goes on.
“We’re not out of this situation yet,” Judge said of his reasons for not shutting down. “I think that’s No. 1. No. 2, you’ve got to play. You’ve got to go out there. It’s about showing up every day.”
In 49 games before tearing a ligament in his right big toe, Judge had 19 home runs and a 1.078 OPS. Since then, he has appeared in 51 games, hitting 16 home runs and posting an OPS of .943.
Before Friday, Judge had only hit one home run in his past 17 games.
“You’re not going to feel 100 percent every day,” the judge said. “The guy’s going to get bumps and bruises.” [and] I think it’s the toe thing. If it’s 60%, you have to give 100% of the 60%. 80% means you show up every day. That’s the real thrill of this game. The great thing about this game is we’re not playing 17 or 82 games.
“We play 162 games, and even on days when you’re not feeling good or feeling great, you still have to come out and perform for the team and perform for the city.”
That attitude was evident not only from Boone but also from Judge’s teammates.
“If you look at him last year, he had all the success in the world,” Gerrit Cole said. “And this year, he’s been injured and he’s dealing with it the same way. The results are different, but he’s the same guy.”
And that affects other parts of the clubhouse as well.
“It’s really helpful for me to inspire my teammates and set an example for the younger players and really for all of us,” Cole said. “He is a leader and he shows us how to run a business when there are challenges in front of us.”
Mr. Boone agreed.
“One of the things I respect about Aaron is that no one knows what’s going on,” the coach said. “He’s our captain. Whether we’re riding high or not. [it’s the] He’s the worst of the worst, and he’s really good at keeping a neutral mindset. ”
Still, everyone predicted at the beginning of the season that Judge would come off a record-setting 62-home run season and in the first year of a nine-year, $360 million contract and captaincy. It wasn’t something.
But the injury Judge sustained in June when he crashed into the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium derailed his season and the Yankees’ season.
At the time of the injury, the Yankees were 35-25, but had lost eight of their first 12 games without Judge.
By the time he returned in late July, the Yankees were in last place in the American League East.
His bobblehead gift didn’t go as planned either.
It was scheduled for Saturday, but due to rain, it was moved to April 24 next season.
But the judges are ready for at least one more day in 2023.