ST. PETERSBURG — Less than an hour before first pitch at Tropicana Field, Aaron Judge was scratched from the Yankees' starting lineup.
Judge was a no-show during New York's pregame workouts and did not participate in batting practice with his teammates.
On Tuesday, the slugger returned from a lengthy stay on the COVID-19 injured list, testing positive for the virus before missing nine games after the All-Star break.
After the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed that Judge was going through some doctors appointments leading up to first pitch. He's fine, it's just additional testing and checks that he needed to go through to ensure that the slugger stays healthy after testing positive for the virus.
With those tests, Judge didn't arrive at the ballpark until less than hour before the game was scheduled to begin. That's why New York was forced to take him out of the starting lineup.
Judge added postgame that the ordeal was frustrating, but he was pleased to make an impact on the game once he did arrive at Tropicana Field. The right fielder pinch-hit in the fifth inning before hitting a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 10th inning, paving the way to a 3-1 Yankees victory.
Judge went 1-for-4 in his return to the lineup during Tuesday night's victory over the Rays. He was plunked in his final at-bat—a 79.5-mph slider from Rays right-hander Louis Head—but he stayed in the game.
The 29-year-old got off to a strong start this year before landing on the COVID IL. Entering play on Wednesday, Judge has posted a slash line of .282/.375/.522 (89-for-316) with 21 home runs, 51 runs, 47 RBI and an .897 OPS in 85 games.
With all the discourse about the outfielder's durability on the diamond, Judge has stayed healthy through the first half of the season, avoiding any regular stints on the injured list.
- Yankees Checked on Max Scherzer, But Weren’t on Pitcher’s List
- Aaron Boone Explains Why Michael King Was Placed on the 60-Day Injured List
- Yankees Are Hoping Clay Holmes Can Help Fix Their Bullpen