Judge (right hip) exits: 'Not too concerned about it'

April 28th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- A day after he appeared to hurt his right wrist sliding into a tag in Minnesota, Yankees right fielder left Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Rangers with right hip discomfort. The issue, which is likely to keep Judge from playing some or all of the remaining three games at Globe Life Field, is also a repercussion of the awkward slide against the Twins, Judge said.

“It was just a little grab in the hip area -- after that headfirst slide … the whole right side has been a little locked up,” Judge said. “The culmination of having that [slide] and a couple of swings today, I just really couldn’t get it loose.”

Judge batted in the first and second innings on Thursday, striking out swinging both times against Texas starter Andrew Heaney. After the second strikeout, on a shoulder-high fastball, Judge moved his empty right hand close to his belt and grimaced for a moment before walking back to the dugout. He played his position for two more innings, before being removed for Oswaldo Cabrera to start the bottom of the fourth.

Manager Aaron Boone said he noticed something was off during Judge’s second plate appearance. He eventually pulled Judge before he had a chance to hit again.

“I was pretty firm with it,” Boone said. “I didn’t leave much to it -- I wanted to get him out of there. I just felt like I didn’t want him to do something more -- even if he felt like he could continue to go, I wasn’t going to mess around with that.

“I don’t like taking our guy out, but we’ll see what we have here tomorrow and the next couple of days and see where we’re at with it.”

In Wednesday’s victory over the Twins, Judge was caught stealing at third base, landing awkwardly on his right hand and wrist as he hit the dirt more perpendicular to the ground than on a typical landing. He said after the game there was some consideration to coming out, but he stayed in and collected three hits.

Even Thursday, despite the “grab” he felt during his second at-bat, Judge continued to play the field and was preparing to take some swings in the batting cage near the visitors’ clubhouse when Boone communicated his decision.

“It wasn’t anything crazy, that’s why I wanted to keep it going, but Booney advised against that. He said, ‘Get some work done, see how it feels and we’ll get back out there,’” Judge said. “The whole right side of the body -- when you have a pretty bad slide like that, you feel it the next day. You don’t want to come out of any game, but I’m not too concerned about it.”

Injuries were hardly a concern for Judge during his record-setting 2022 season, when he hit an American League-record 62 homers, in his most recent appearance at Globe Life Field prior to Thursday. He played 157 games last season, but injuries have been an issue for the Yankees in general in recent years. 

“Some of the things have been freak things,” Boone said, “But it’s not for lack of us being totally sold out for having the best medical care and keeping guys healthy as best we can.”

Of course, given Judge’s high profile and status as one of MLB’s brightest stars -- as well as one of the Yankees’ most productive players -- Judge’s early departure was the elephant in the clubhouse in postgame conversations.

“He’s our captain, our leader, and I know he expects to be out there every day,” said reliever Michael King, who pitched 2 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings for the save Thursday. “Any time he comes out of the game, it’s not great. I’m just praying for him and hoping he’s OK.”