NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge couldn't help but smile at reporters on Friday afternoon when he answered questions about his chipped tooth, amused that it became a bigger story than the Yankees' walk-off win the night before."I tried to rush off the field before anyone would notice," Judge said. "But
NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge couldn't help but smile at reporters on Friday afternoon when he answered questions about his chipped tooth, amused that it became a bigger story than the Yankees' walk-off win the night before.
"I tried to rush off the field before anyone would notice," Judge said. "But there's a lot of cameras around."
Judge first clarified that he was fine after having dental work done on his front left tooth Friday morning. The tooth chipped when Brett Gardner's helmet was knocked out of Judge's hand and into his face during the Yankees' walk-off celebration on Thursday.
It turns out, Judge took the blow, in part, because he was trying to prevent his teammates from getting hurt as they mobbed Gardner at home plate.
"The helmet kind of rolled in the middle of everybody, and I didn't want anybody jumping and breaking an ankle," Judge said. "So I picked it up, and as everybody was jumping around, I think I hit it on someone's back. It got me."
Upon realizing Judge was OK, the postgame buzz quickly shifted into the greatest whodunit of the season. Players and reporters, together, were in the clubhouse after the game trying to determine who exactly was to blame for the chipped tooth.
The initial finger was pointed at rookie outfielder Clint Frazier, who was jumping next to Judge at the moment of impact, when newly acquired third baseman Todd Frazier said, "It was [Clint] Frazier," from across the room.
Clint darted across the room with his phone in his hand and the video of the scene on loop to plead his case. The conspiracy theories began from there.
"Listen, there is someone else," Clint Frazier said. "Austin Romine is in there."
"Don't go pointing fingers," Todd Frazier said.
"You just pointed one from across the distance," Clint shot back before Todd, a 31-year-old veteran, pulled the seniority card to settle it.
"Well, I can do that," Todd said. "You can't."
After the clubhouse closed to the media, a Yankees security guard was outside combing the area around home plate for Judge's tooth. The search was for naught, though, as nobody found it, Judge said.
Judge said he took one picture of his chipped-tooth mouth Thursday night, but he said he'll "keep that for myself."
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.