NEW YORK — After Aaron Judge was taken out of Tuesday night's win with a five-run lead in the sixth inning, there was reason to believe something was awry.
Yankees' manager Aaron Boone quelled concerns postgame, reassuring Judge was going through his "normal treatment." The following afternoon, however, the manager's assurances had shifted.
Boone revealed Judge is being held out of New York's starting lineup on Wednesday night with "lower body tightness."
He said the decision to keep the slugger on the bench — when Judge wanted to play — was a precautionary measure to give the right fielder two days off (as New York has a scheduled off day on Thursday).
"Essentially what's going on with Aaron is I made a quick decision in the game just based on how I felt he was moving around and coming off a series where he was on the turf and I know got some wear and tear as we were out there in Tampa," Boone said. "So, I made the decision to get him out of there and see where we were as we evaluated him after the game and overnight obviously coming into today. He's in getting treatment now."
As for where Judge's tightness is located, Boone said it's "all over" the slugger's lower body. He specifically mentioned his hips, hamstrings and calves, citing four games of running on the turf at Tropicana Field in three days as the likely culprit for the discomfort.
"It goes back to the 60-game season and you've heard me talk a lot about the importance of building these guys up and making sure we take care of them to some degree," Boone explained. "Based on a three-week summer training right into the grind and rigors of a Major League season, hopefully this is something that we're out ahead of will only be a couple of days."
Even after Judge had mashed his MLB-leading ninth home run of the season the inning prior, it was Mike Tauchman that stepped into the box in Judge's spot in the order. Judge stuck around on the dugout railing, cheering on as Tauchman worked a walk, but later disappeared into the Bombers' clubhouse and didn't return.
Asked why Judge was in the lineup to begin with on Tuesday, considering his tightness had dated back to the weekend prior to the club's off day on Monday, Boone said he felt good about where the slugger was at, but pulled the plug after keeping a watchful eye on No. 99 over the course of the game.
"Felt good about where he was yesterday coming out of the off day was hoping that would be fine," he said. "Just watching him closely during that game. Seeing him move around a little bit cautiously I felt like it was best to get him out of there."
Judge had played in all of New York's 17 games to start the season, setting franchise records with his historic start. Now, he joins fellow slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the sidelines — Stanton was placed on the 10-Day Injured List with a Grade 1 left hamstring strain on Sunday and is expected to miss three-plus weeks.
Outfielder Clint Frazier, who was called up to replace Stanton on the active roster, will start in Judge's place in right field.
If all goes well with Judge's treatment and rest on Wednesday, Boone is hopeful the star can return to the lineup on Friday against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. That said, he left the door open for the possibility of Judge missing more time.
"I hope so but in a lot of ways that's a long way from now." he said. "So let's just get through today."
To keep up with all of Inside The Pinstripes’ coverage, click the "follow" button at the top right-hand corner of this page.