Aaron Judge shines as lone star in pinstripes as Yankees falter vs. Orioles

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Thursday, June 20, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

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Aaron Judge made a notable return to the New York Yankees lineup against the Baltimore Orioles after a brief absence due to a hand injury. Despite the Yankees’ 17-5 defeat, his performance stood out as a highlight.

Manager Aaron Boone mentioned that while the swelling in Aaron Judge’s hand had reduced, he still felt some discomfort. Nevertheless, the slugger started in center field and hit third in the batting order.

Aaron Judge’s return was marked by significant offensive contributions. The Yankees captain launched a two-run homer in the third inning, his 27th of the season, with an exit velocity of 110 mph. He later added an RBI single that narrowly missed Orioles left fielder Austin Hays, with an even higher exit velocity of 114 mph.

The rest of the game was disappointing for the Yankees, as starting pitcher Luis Gil struggled from the onset. The lopsided score prompted Boone to replace Aaron Judge and teammate Juan Soto in the field during the eighth inning.

Despite Aaron Judge’s efforts, the Orioles clinched another series win against the Yankees. The loss underscored the team’s ongoing struggles, even as their star player displayed his resilience and power at the plate.

Yankees Aaron Judge is in a pensive mood at dugout of Yankee stadium after hit by a pitch while playing against the Orioles on June 18, 2024

Aaron Judge emerges as the only bright spot vs. Orioles

Aaron Judge made a swift return to the lineup Thursday after a brief absence due to a hand injury. Manager Aaron Boone reported that his captain had responded well to treatment and batting practice, giving the green light to rejoin the team.

Aaron Judge’s exit from Tuesday’s game had sparked concerns, but imaging results eased fears of a serious injury. His absence was palpable during Wednesday’s loss, where the Yankees missed a critical late-game opportunity.

Boone stated he would keep a close eye on Aaron Judge but expressed confidence in his recovery. The manager highlighted the importance of his return, not just for his MVP-level performance but also for his leadership and the positive impact on team morale.

“I watch him pretty closely, anyway. I think we should be in a good spot [with the injury],” Boone said. “It’s definitely a good feeling. Obviously, the caliber of player he is [and] he’s the captain in that room, too. Guys rally around him. And not only him back in the lineup adding length to the lineup so guys are in different spots.”

Aaron Judge’s presence was expected to bolster the lineup, enabling strategic adjustments for other players. The rapid return of their captain provided a much-needed lift for the Yankees as they prepared for their series against the Atlanta Braves.

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