Aaron Judge exits with hip injury though Yankees prevail in Texas

Yankees Aaron Judge is at Globe Life Field in Arlington against the Texas Rangers on April 28, 2023.

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Yankees captain Aaron Judge returned to the team’s lineup on Thursday putting to rest an injury scare the day before. But his night was cut short at Globe Life Field by another injury. The Yankees’ skipper left the game in the bottom of the fourth inning after feeling “a little grab in the hip area” during his at-bat in the second inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Rangers.

Aaron Judge’s removal from the Texas game wasn’t immediately clear. Many initially thought it had to do with his banging his right hand into third base in Wednesday’s game against the Twins in Minnesota. But it was determined that the issue was with the hip.

The horrific headfirst slide at Minnesota left Judge waking up on Wednesday with his entire right side “a little locked up.”

“It wasn’t until the second-to-last swing that at-bat [in the second inning], I kind of felt something grab,” Judge said. “They kind of thought it’d be best to shut it down and see how we feel after a couple days and then get back in there.”

Aaron Judge got injured, exited

Aaron Judge’s face was shown grimacing in replays when he struck out for the second time in as many at-bats on a high fastball in the second inning. To keep himself in the game, the Yankees’ power hitter played right field for the next two innings and even hit a few inside practice balls.

On Thursday night, Judge went 0-for-2 against Rangers left-hander Andrew Heaney by striking out swinging both times. Before the bottom of the fourth, manager Aaron Boone dissuaded Aaron Judge from continuing in right field and instead put Oswaldo Cabrera there.

When asked if he planned to play again in this series, Aaron Judge said he wasn’t “too concerned” about the hip condition but added:

“I don’t know. We’re going to assess how we feel about things on a daily basis.”

Despite Aaron Judge’s postgame declaration that he would be out of the lineup for a few days due to hip soreness, the Yankees opted not to test him after the game. Before Thursday’s game, Aaron Judge said his hand felt “good,” and manager Aaron Boone said tests done overnight showed no problems.

“I considered giving him a day [off] today, and I might in this series, but after talking through it with him and the trainers and once he was alright today, I feel good about that,” Boone said.

Second straight injury scare for Aaron Judge

For the second day in a row, Aaron Judge had a near-miss with an injury. On Wednesday, he was attempting a steal when he hurt his hand sliding awkwardly headfirst into third base. In spite of this, he continued to play on Thursday afternoon, declaring that his hand was “good.”

While considering resting him on Thursday, Boone ultimately decided to keep him in the lineup after consulting with Aaron Judge and the trainers. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it very far.

“When I woke up this morning, [I] kind of felt a little bit more of what happened,” Judge said. “But I think a culmination of having that and then a couple swings today, I just really couldn’t get it loose. Then you feel a little something there in that second at-bat and best to shut it down and try to reevaluate it in a couple days.”

With Giancarlo Stanton, Harrison Bader, and Josh Donaldson already on the disabled list, the Yankees can’t afford to lose Aaron Judge, the AL’s reigning MVP.

The injury clouded the Yankees’ otherwise impressive performance. Gerrit Cole kept up his strong season debut by limiting opponents to just two runs on six hits over six and a third innings while striking out eight.

The Yankees took the lead in the third inning thanks to a pair of home runs. Gleyber Torres got his fourth home run of the year after DJ LeMahieu opened the scoring. Jose Trivino capped the third.

“I don’t like taking our guy out, but we’ll see,” Boone said. “We’ll see what we have here [Friday] and the next couple days. … [Injuries are] part of it. Not allowed to be upset. Nobody waits for us. We got a tough league and we gotta keep going.”

Aaron Judge wanted to play

In the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night, Aaron Judge didn’t want to leave the game after only three and a half innings. Still, he left because he was aware that he must not have tried to ignore the pain in his right hip considering his importance to the Yankees.

During his final at-bat, Aaron Judge felt like “something was grabbing” him as he made his swing. The Yankees’ star slugger continued to play right field for two more innings until Yankees manager Aaron Boone rushed to check on him during the third.

When Boone told Aaron Judge that he wasn’t going to allow him more time at the plate, the power hitter suggested he hit some indoor batting cage balls to check if the problem persists. But Boone dissuaded him, saying, “Let’s not.”

“I was pretty firm,” Boone said. “I really needed him to leave that place.”

It wasn’t merely a cautious move that Aaron Judge was benched and Oswaldo Cabrera took his place. The Yankees are worried that this will force them to be without their best player for a long time.

Aaron Judge is batting during the game against the Twins at Target Field on April 26, 2023.

According to LeMahieu, during their two-minute talk in the tunnel leading to the clubhouse following Thursday’s game, Aaron Judge sounded downcast. When asked if he was worried that this could turn into a major crisis, LeMahieu said:

“I don’t know. He doesn’t know either. So I think he’s hoping a couple of days, but we’ll see how he feels (Friday).”

It’s unclear why he was even included in the team after Wednesday’s injury. However, Aaron Judge convinced Boone that he was fine to play on Friday. The slugger himself repeated this twice in a pregame interview.

The hip pain started after Aaron Judge struck out swinging in the first inning and again in the second.

According to Aaron Judge, “It wasn’t until the second to last swing that I felt something grab.”

Aaron Judge, a true Yankee, decided to play through the pain and claimed the hip only bothered him “a little bit” in the third and fourth innings while he was in right field.

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