HOUSTON -- There were eyebrows raised when Aaron Judge served as the Yankees' designated hitter on back-to-back days, then was out of the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Astros, but manager Joe Girardi promises that there is nothing physically wrong with the Majors' leading home run hitter."I know
HOUSTON -- There were eyebrows raised when Aaron Judge served as the Yankees' designated hitter on back-to-back days, then was out of the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Astros, but manager Joe Girardi promises that there is nothing physically wrong with the Majors' leading home run hitter.
"I know some of you don't believe me," Girardi said earlier in the day. "If I need to win the game, he's going to hit. He's fine. I just think he needs a physical day. That was my choice to give him today. He's going to take BP and balls in the outfield. I encouraged him to rest, but he feels that's part of his day."
Since hitting his 27th homer on Wednesday in Chicago, Judge -- who will start in right field on Sunday -- has gone hitless in six at-bats, including a flyout against position player Norichika Aoki in Friday's 13-4 win over the Astros, an at-bat Judge is still half-jokingly grumbling about.
"I was upset, especially since I was 0-for-4 on the day and I wasn't helping the team out at all," Judge said.
Facing Aoki, Judge took a mighty cut and missed at a 78-mph fastball, then looked at a pitch low before hitting a towering drive to center fielder George Springer for the final out of the ninth inning.
"He got me on the first one," Judge said. "Geez. I swung and missed. That was my first time facing a position player. That was a little different. I had [Brian McCann] behind the plate laughing at me a little bit. It was all fun. It was good. I was trying to hit one to the moon, and I just missed it."
Judge walked twice on Friday and has a .483 on-base percentage with 12 homers and 32 RBIs during a 32-game on-base streak, the longest on-base streak by a Yankees rookie since Charlie Keller (40 games) in 1939.
For his part, Aoki doesn't sound as though he's in a hurry to press his luck in a rematch.
"I knew he was big, but he looked even bigger when I was on the mound," Aoki said. "It felt like he was nine feet, 10 feet tall."
Right-hander Adam Warren (inflammation in right shoulder) is scheduled to throw a simulated inning on Sunday in Houston. If all goes well, he could be activated on Tuesday against the Blue Jays, when left-hander Carsten Sabathia (strained left hamstring) is also expected to come off the disabled list.
Infielder Miguel Andujar was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday to make room for outfielder Clint Frazier on the active roster, but Andujar made sure to take ground balls at third base during batting practice before heading to the airport. Andujar told Girardi that he wanted to fly out on Saturday so he could play in Sunday's game at Triple-A.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.