Aaron Judge dealing with mild hip strain, Yankees worried as IL move on the horizon

Yankees' Aaron Judge dashes to third base in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium, Apr 18, 2019.

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The Yankees have finally some answers about Aaron Judge‘s MRI results, but the situation is far from ideal. Manager Aaron Boone indicated that the organization would continue analyzing Aaron Judge’s moderate hip strain over the weekend before determining whether or not the reigning AL MVP will go on the disabled list.

“In the grand scheme of things and big picture, we do feel like we got good news on it,” Boone said at Globe Life Field. “That said, we want to make sure we’re doing right by him and by us.”

The scanxiety over Aaron Judge’s injury

On Friday, Aaron Judge had an MRI performed to evaluate the severity of his hip discomfort. During Thursday’s game, he felt it “grab” at him and was forced to leave the play.

The Yankees were relieved by the outcome, all things considered. On Saturday, manager Aaron Boone indicated that Aaron Judge is day-to-day with a minor hip strain but won’t be placed on the injured list. After a few more days of rest and therapy, the Yankees want to see whether Aaron Judge continues to improve. It’s likely that they won’t know whether he has to go to the injured list until Monday.

Aaron Judge hasn’t played since Thursday night’s series opener when he was pulled from right field after two at-bats due to a hip problem. A day after turning 31, he landed awkwardly on his right side while attempting a third-base steal in a game against the Minnesota Twins.

Boone sees improvements

Boone reported that Aaron Judge had exhibited “a lot of improvement” during the previous two days. He stated the Yankees wouldn’t let the batter hit on Sunday even if he wanted to.

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“Aaron’s doing better,” Boone said before the Yankees fell, 2-0, to the Rangers. “We’re going to wait to see, today and [Sunday], see how we’re doing to see if this is something we want to take a 10-day [IL stint] or if he is ready to play by Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, we’ll kind of keep that in play. But it’ll be something we pay attention to here. … He’s shown a lot of improvements here over the last two days.”

Aaron Judge gave a right-hand injury scare when he rolled over and banged it up against the base in Minnesota on his birthday, but he kept playing nonetheless.

However, the effects of that dive were still apparent when Aaron Judge woke up on Thursday. The right part of his body was “locked up,” he said. Even so, he started at second base and batted twice on Thursday. He departed the game in the fourth inning after feeling a “grab” in his right hip on the second-to-last swing of his second-inning at-bat.

Aaron Judge IL decision pending

The decision about Aaron Judge is probably going to be made on Monday. The Yankees have until Friday to place him on the disabled list if necessary, allowing him to return as soon as feasible.

If they wait too long, they will only be able to go back three days from the time they call IL. Aaron Judge hasn’t done anything baseball-related since being removed from Thursday’s game early, but Boone indicated Saturday that the captain was eager to return to the plate. To be on the safe side, the Yankees won’t let him do that.

“The big thing will be obviously we don’t want to get into a situation where we hurt something further or put ourselves in jeopardy any further,” Boone said. “We’ll have to make that decision one way or the other. But right now, we don’t feel like we have to make that decision quite yet.”

Boone has said that Aaron Judge’s aggressive play style will not factor into the decision of when he will be ready to play.

“It’s as simple as, is he ready to go?” Boone said. “If we feel like there’s some risk there, then we’ll push it back.”

Both of Aaron Judge’s recent scares came from an attempt at a third-base steal in Wednesday’s game against the Twins. He dove headfirst into the dirt.

Aaron Judge would begin his 10-day DL stint with the Yankees on Friday if the team decides to do so on Sunday. For the home series against Oakland beginning on May 8, he would be eligible to return. If he lands on the disabled list, he will miss the first game of a three-game series against Tampa Bay starting the following Friday. The Rays have a home record of 14-2 and now lead the American League East. As of Saturday, their advantage over the Yankees was seven games.

A big blow to the Yankees

The Yankees, already shorthanded for Saturday’s game, would take a major hit if Aaron Judge were to go on the injured list .230/.304/.391. At .230, he has the 24th-best batting average in the Majors.

Injuries have also taken a heavy toll on the Bronx Bombers.

Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton A number of key players, including third baseman Josh Donaldson, center fielder Harrison Bader, and pitchers Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino, Frankie Montas, Jonathan Loáisiga, Lou Trivino, and Tommy Kahnle, are now out with injuries.

Aaron Judge continues to excel this season. He had a .261/.352/.511 slash line with six homers, fourteen runs batted in, and two steals in twenty-six games. With the American League’s current MVP out, Cabrera could get some action in right field. On Saturday, the Yankees signed Jake Bauers to a major league deal after demoting Franchy Cordero to Triple-A on Friday. The two players were spread out on the field, with Cabrera on the right and Bauers on the left.

With a 15-12 record, the Yankees are in fourth place in the American League East, seven games behind the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

“Whether he’s going to be safe or out, being directly into the base,” Boone said. “That said, you’re playing in the heat of the moment and as competitive as he is, sometimes that happens. Obviously, the other day got himself into a little bit of a tough spot. Those are things we continue to talk about and try to lean into. Obviously, it’s important for him to continue to be able to post all the time.”

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