Judge underwent MRI testing before the game and the Yankees are waiting for a complete diagnosis from their team physician, manager Aaron Boone said after the loss.
“It doesn’t seem too serious, but that said, we still don’t have a clear picture of it yet,” Boone said. “It seems like it could be day to day, but it also could be a short [IL] stint. We’ll have to see when Dr. [Christopher] Ahmad weighs in.”
Judge’s bat could’ve come in handy Friday in a lineup that struggled against Rangers ace Jacob deGrom -- who himself had to leave the game early due to injury. Judge’s glove would’ve also been useful in right field, where Franchy Cordero couldn’t come down with a pair of doubles that were playable, though by no means routine.
The consequences of a hard slide Wednesday seem to become more worrisome every day for Judge and the Yankees. He was pulled from the game in the fourth inning Thursday, and it was basically guaranteed that he would miss a game for the first time this season when Judge and Boone spoke repeatedly of “a couple of days” as the timeline for his recovery. “We’ll see” has been a common refrain for both the slugger and the manager over the past two nights.
“He’s arguably the best player in the sport, and it’s no secret what he means to our team,” Boone said. “Hopefully we don’t lose him for too long.”
Judge played in 305 games over the previous two seasons, and he started all of the Yankees’ first 26 games prior to Friday.
It didn’t take long for the Yankees to miss him. Before leaving with forearm tightness, deGrom mowed down New York’s lineup in short order, needing only 34 pitches to record 10 consecutive outs to start the game. Judge would likely have batted twice before the Yankees scored their first run in the fifth, on a Kyle Higashioka single that drove in Oswaldo Cabrera after his leadoff ground-rule double.
In right field, where Judge was Thursday and has been almost one-third of the time this season, Cordero didn’t get a good jump on a Robbie Grossman line drive in the second inning; Cordero took a step in, then had to backpedal and turn his body around to get in position to handle the carom off the wall. A potential out set up a two-run frame instead.
The same issue occurred the next inning, only this time it was Jonah Heim’s looping liner to the gap to Cordero’s right. He got a glove on it on the run, but the ball slithered out. That turned into an RBI double -- instead of the third out.
Cordero said he thought they were both catchable.
“Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want it,” he said. “You’ve got to make sure you keep working, so plays like that, you make them in the future.”
“They were hit on the screws -- really difficult chances,” Boone said. “He maybe got turned around the wrong way on [the first] one, but I don’t know if he turns the right way on that one, if he makes it. Those balls are smoked off the wall, in the end.”
Shortly after Cordero spoke to reporters, the Yankees announced that he had been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
In Judge’s stead, and with Cordero’s roster spot now open, the Yankees are planning to select the contract of Scranton first baseman/outfielder Jake Bauers, though that move was not announced Friday night. Bauers has been on a tear in Triple-A, hitting .304 with nine homers and a hefty .797 slugging percentage in 87 plate appearances.
"It was twofold," Boone said of Bauers' expected promotion. "Obviously to give us some coverage there, but he could be in play anyway moving forward regardless. We'll have to see, but we definitely wanted to put ourselves in a position to be covered."