NEW YORK — Just when you thought the injury news in the Bronx couldn't get any worse, Yankees' superstar Aaron Judge is headed back to the injured list after aggravating his right calf on Wednesday.
"It's just a recurrence of the strain that that he had suffered before," Boone said on Friday afternoon. "Similar in that it's low grade and pretty minor but enough that he had to go back on the IL and hopefully it's not something that keeps him down too long but definitely something that we got to continue to work to get right."
Judge had spent nearly two weeks on the 10-day IL after lower body tightness from pounding on the turf in Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field turned into a mild right calf strain.
Initially, the slugger had begged and pleaded not to go on the injured list, explaining just days later that he was feeling 100 percent and could do everything he needed to to play and contribute.
After a handful of COVID-19 postponements, Judge made his triumphant return from the IL in Game 2 of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Braves. In the sixth inning, the right fielder was taken out after "tightening up" in his calf once again.
On Wednesday evening, Boone had explained that Judge reinjured his calf running to second base after his single in the fourth inning. While it's hard anytime when a player goes down on the injured list, Judge's importance to this team and his work ethic to stay on the field makes this setback an even tougher pill to swallow.
"The way he competes, the way he prepares, the way he goes about playing this game. I have so much respect for," Boone said. "So, I just hurt for him because obviously there's a lot of conversation around it and I know how much he wants to be out there and how much he does to be out there and so it's another one of those cases where I just hurt for the individual."
As for Judge's specific timetable, general manager Brian Cashman—on a Zoom call with fans on Thursday evening—mentioned he expects Judge to be sidelined for "twice as long as the first time." The Zoom call was organized by Twitter user @BAT1STA, per The Athletic's Lindsey Adler.
Judge's stint on the IL the first time around was 11 days long. Doubling that timeline would put the right fielder's return to the Yankees' starting lineup close to the end of the regular season, if not later.
Meanwhile, Yankees' shortstop Gleyber Torres could miss just as much—if not more time—as Judge.
The phenom's Grade 1 left hamstring and quad strains are expected to keep him out for approximately three-to-six weeks, Cashman also revealed on Zoom.
Torres had been one of the Yankees' hottest hitters before he landed on the IL last week. The 23-year-old stumbled running out a ground ball on Aug. 20. An MRI the next day revealed the muscle strains in his left leg, a diagnosis the shortstop was "surprised" to receive.
Riding a five game losing streak into a stretch of five games in three days over the weekend, Judge and Torres' bats will be sorely missed by a slumping Yankees lineup.
Judge is second on the team with nine home runs and 20 RBI, playing in just 17 games so far. Torres was hitting .361 (13-for-36) with seven runs scored in his last dozen games before his injury.
While Boone didn't confirm specifically how long Judge and Torres are expected to be out, if each star can return in three weeks, that would give them just about one week to prepare before the playoffs begin. Should either player experience any additional setbacks or require more time on the sidelines, however, New York could enter October without two of its best offensive contributors.
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