While Aaron Judge's side soreness is "subsiding," Yankees manager Aaron Boone is keeping the slugger out of the lineup on Friday.
"It's simply us wanting to play the long game and not force anything back just to be safe at this point right now," Boone said in a Zoom call before New York faces the Rays in Tampa Bay. "We'll see where we're at in 24 hours."
Judge sat on Wednesday in New York's series finale against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium after feeling soreness in his left side during Tuesday night's game. He still hasn't undergone any imaging as the Yankees believe it's just general soreness coming from the "wear and tear" of the first week of the season.
Asked if Judge's injury history played a role in the additional day of rest, Boone said it's "all baked into the cake."
"There's no secret to how important he is to our club," Boone explained. "Trying to weigh all those things into account, understanding that we also have a very tough player that takes pride in being able to go out there when he can. I would say that's all part of it and certainly the history of that injury is not something we want to aggravate."
Judge hasn't played a full season since his rookie year back in 2017. After a healthy spring, playing in 16 Grapefruit League games, the right fielder started the regular season strong, swinging a hot bat over his first five games this season.
Entering play on Friday, the slugger is leading the team with a .364 batting average (8-for-22), two home runs, five RBI and a 1.028 OPS. He's homered in each of his last two contests.
Understanding Judge's frustration, being held out of the lineup, Boone isn't quite sure at this point when the slugger will be able to play again.
"I know in Aaron's case, and pretty much all of our guys, they want to go out there all the time and they want to be there for their teammates," Boone said. "So anytime I'm holding a guy out of the lineup, or they're not able to go out there, I think that's probably a little frustrating for everybody. But that's also part of sport and part of what we have to manage on a daily basis."
Judge went through treatment again on Friday, taking batting practice in the cages and on the field. Outfielder Mike Tauchman got the start in Judge's place in the lineup and Clint Frazier moved over from left to right field.
- Two Cancer Survivors Square Off at Yankee Stadium
- James Paxton's Season Could Be Over After Tommy John Surgery Recommendation
- Taillon Strikes Out Seven in Return From Second TJ Surgery