Yankees make tough call, move Aaron Judge to IL seventh time since 2016

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.
John Allen
Tuesday May 2, 2023

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The Yankees had to make a tough decision on Monday and place Aaron Judge on the 10-day injury list. It was a major disappointment for the faltering Yankees but they have to take the latest blow after many days of discussion.

After sustaining what the club is calling a right hip injury on Thursday, which forced him to miss the victory in Texas, Aaron Judge has been trying to return to action. The slugger was benched for the Yankees’ three-game series defeat to the Rangers and the team’s next home series against the Guardians at Yankee Stadium.

Since his debut in 2016, Aaron Judge has spent seven times on the disabled list due to injuries. Last year, he played the entire season without missing any time due to injury, and he hit .311 with 131 RBIs, and 62 home runs.

Aaron Judge moves to 10-day IL

Prior to their home series opener against Cleveland, the Yankees made the announcement of Aaron Judge IL move and applied it retroactively to Friday. This means the slugger may make a comeback for the series opener against Oakland on May 8.

Yankees Aaron Judge slides in to the base
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

On his 31st birthday, Aaron Judge executed a strange downhill slide at Minnesota and landed hard injuring his right hand when diving into the base. He was taken out of the game, but Aaron Judge was back in the lineup the next day when he felt pain in his hip during an at-bat in the second inning. MRI revealed it was a mild hip strain.

Aaron Judge is out for the remainder of the series against Cleveland and, more significantly, the next three games against the division-leading Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Manager Aaron Boone stated that Aaron Judge was scheduled to throw and could bat before Monday’s game, but the club and the player ultimately decided on an alternate plan of action.

“I think Aaron’s also being realistic, too. He understands what’s at stake, and what’s important,” Boone said. “We’re having real conversations … [We] want to understand where we are in the season, with whatever, 130 games to go, and obviously, how important he is. We want to make sure we’re in a good spot there.”

Aaron Judge joins Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring), Harrison Bader (left oblique), and Josh Donaldson (hamstring) on the injured list.

Since 2016, Aaron Judge has spent 156 games on the disabled list due to injuries. He sat out the final 18 games of 2016 due to a strained right oblique and 45 games in 2018 due to a right wrist injury sustained from a direct pitch hitting him in a game against the Royals. In 2019, Aaron Judge couldn’t play in 54 games due to a strained left oblique and had two separate stints totaling 30 missed games in 2020 due to a strained right calf. COVID-19 caused him to miss nine games in 2021.

Tough to navigate Aaron Judge-less days

Aaron Judge has appeared in 26 games this season, with a .261/.352/.511 (139 OPS+) batting line with six home runs, fourteen runs batted in, five doubles, and 18 runs to go along with a 0.9 WAR.

Franchy Cordero, formerly of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was promoted to the major league club by the Yankees to fill the gap. When the game started, Cordero was batting .151 and had been demoted since Friday night.

But given the recent success of the Yankees’ offense, Aaron Judge is irreplaceable. In three games played in Texas without him, the Yankees managed just four runs on .174 hitting. The Yankees’ offense was the eighth poorest in MLB before their series against Cleveland, averaging only 4.00 runs per game with little in the way of offensive support.

Boone warned the players not to be down after the last out of the Texas series.

“We’re going through a tough stretch right now, we’re beating up, but we got to focus on the here and the now and the day and being the best we can,” Boone said after the Texas series loss. “You can’t start trying to make up games. … We got to walk in those doors with an edge, ready to prepare, ready to go out and compete for our asses off.”

Without Aaron Judge, who blasted a record 62 home runs last year (both for the team and the league), the climb will be more difficult. He was placed on the injured list after hitting only six home runs and posting an OPS of .863.

Aaron Judge is seen during a practice session.

Willie Calhoun, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa started in the outfield on Monday. Both Aaron Hicks and Cordero, who were sent to Triple-A without playing a single game, will join them.

Jake Bauers, called up by the Yankees on Saturday but sidelined after injuring his knee making a stunning diving catch against the Texas left-field wall, is expected to return to action soon.

In a Monday afternoon talk, Bauers said that the swelling “has gone down a lot.”

The Yankees will need to depend on the rest of their roster in Aaron Judge’s absence. Boone described the injury as “minor,” but with the offense struggling, even a little setback might have a major impact right now.

“Each of the last few days I feel like it’s going better,” Boone told. “Just want to make sure we do right by him and what’s best for him and for us.”

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