Yankees locker room reacts with concern, support to Aaron Judge’s hip injury

Yankees Aaron Judge is at Globe Life Field in Arlington against the Texas Rangers on April 28, 2023 after exiting the game following a hip injury.

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On the eve of the game against the Rangers on Thursday Aaron Judge was asked about his sore right hand from the day before, when he slid awkwardly into third base in Minnesota. The Yankees star responded positively.

However, just after 3 and a half innings of the Yankees’ 4-2 victory in Arlingtons’ Globe Life Field, Aaron Judge reluctantly left the game. The Yankees captain experienced throbbing in his right hip as he tried to have a swing.

The Yankees already have  Giancarlo StantonHarrison Bader, and Josh Donaldson on the injured list. The team can’t afford to lose its biggest asset for an extended period and face the specter of devastating consequences without him.

Aaron Judge got injured, exited

After Aaron Judge’s first two at-bats against left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney resulted in strikeouts, Oswaldo Cabrera was inserted into right field.

“It was just a little grab in the hip area,” Judge said. “After that head-first dive the other night, the whole right side has been locked up. It wasn’t until the second to last swing that I felt something grab. I thought it would be best to shut it down and see how it feels after a couple of days and get back in there.”

The Yankees beat the Rangers 4-2 on Thursday. But Aaron Judge felt like “grabbing.” A day before he had a scary moment in the second inning. After being caught stealing, he slid into third base, perhaps injuring his right hand. He returned to the Yankees’ bench and immediately went into the locker room, but he continued to play.

At Arlington, Aaron Judge remained in right field for the next two innings. But after the Yankees got a hit in the third, manager Aaron Boone pulled him out of the game because he didn’t look right.

As soon as Boone confirmed his plans to pull Aaron Judge back, the slugger sought to test his condition by hitting some balls in an indoor batting cage, Boone flatly refused, saying, “Let’s not.”

“I was pretty firm,” admitted Boone. “I wanted to get him out of there.”

The Yankees are concerned that they may be without their finest player for some time and were determined not to take any risk. Oswaldo Cabrera replaced Aaron Judge.

“I don’t like taking our guy out, but we’ll see what we have here (Friday) and the next couple of days,” Boone said.

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

Teammates expressed concern, support

The Yankees may play at least the next two games with Aaron Judge, who is likely to sit out the first two games of the Yankees’ series against the Rangers and possibly the rest of the series.

DJ LeMahieu reported that Aaron Judge seemed to be down when the two of them chatted for two minutes before the media was allowed into the clubhouse following Thursday’s game.

When asked if he thinks this could be a big issue, 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).”

So far in this season, Aaron Judge has started all 28 games. The team has plans to give him off at Arlington. However, it was the Yankees captain who refused to take a break. However, Judge insisted on playing on Friday, so he convinced Boone that he was alright. Judge repeated himself twice during a pregame interview.

Reports indicate that the Yankees are considering getting an MRI on Judge’s hip, but for the time being they want to wait things out. This comes as a shock, considering his significance to the season and the squad. And his teammates are nervous.

Aaron Judge is seen during the game against the Twins at Target Field on April 26, 2023.
NYY/Twitter

Center fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa was quoted as saying, “I don’t know much about it, but definitely you’re worried. Anytime the best player in the world goes down or comes out of the game, it’s a big deal. Hopefully, it’s something minor.”

After Michael King closed out the game in 2 1/3 innings, the reliever said he would pray for Judge.

“He’s our captain, our leader,” King said. “I know he expects to be out there every day. So anytime he comes out of the game, you know it’s not great.”

The loss of Judge would be devastating for the Yankees, given he was the AL MVP and set a new record with 62 home runs last season. As of right now, the Yankees are 15-11 and in fourth place in the American League East. Aaron Judge is off to a decent start, starting all 26 games while hitting.261, with six home runs and 14 RBI.

The Yankees, as in previous years, have already suffered a significant number of sicknesses. They lead MLB with 12 separate trips to the disabled list.

“We’re just gonna roll with the punches,” winning pitcher Gerrit Cole said. “It is what it is, but we’ve got an opportunity to pick up another win (Friday) and get out of this month strong. So that’s our focus and we’ll be there to pick him up whether he’s in there tomorrow or not. Every game.”

The Yankees’ offense, which was hitting.232/.308/.392 as a club as of Thursday, would take a significant knock if Aaron Judge were to be out for any length of time. The club ranks last out of 30 in runs scored per game at 4.32. It would be devastating to lose Judge for even a short stretch of games if he had to sit out of that attack.

Illness has been a major setback for the Yankees early in the season. Their starting center fielder Harrison Bader, DH Giancarlo Stanton, top set-up man Jonathan Loaisiga, and a few other depth arms are out, as are their No. 2 and No. 3 pitchers Carlos Rodón and Luis Severino.

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