It all began Monday morning when the third consecutive lineup dropped without Big No. 99 for the team’s spring finale.
Stanton? Back from a brief rest.
Gleyber, DJ, Frazier? All of them, back.
Judge? Conspicuously absent, which got the beat writers buzzing.
Don’t worry, they assured us. Aaron Boone would be speaking around 11:30 to clear things up, once and for all. We’d get word on the severity of an injury that may or may not have ever existed.
What is going on with the Yankees and Aaron Judge? Injury? Nothing?
Throwing an emoji up there with no context is an extremely unkind thing for any beat writer to do, let alone a Yankees beat writer.
As the afternoon dragged on, though, it became clear we weren’t completely insane for fearing the worst.
First, Boone failed to show up for that media availability, and desperate doom-scrollers were told the team “couldn’t find time” for the session. Well, never you mind, because the Yanks then tapped…GM Brian Cashman to take over the Zoom instead.
As of this writing, he, too, has yet to show up.
Bottom line, this seemed either deadly serious — a situation where the boss was called in to drop a bomb — or an innocuous trade, which has yet to be finalized and is stringing Cashman along. Boone did drop some cryptic comments this weekend about Tyler Wade’s roster status. Perhaps they’ve been waiting for days to get something wrapped.
All we knew all afternoon was that Judge wasn’t scheduled to play today, but was scheduled to take BP with the starters. Then he disappeared.
Well, finally…after HOURS…Aaron Boone hopped onto the YES Network broadcast in the fifth inning, resurfacing for the first time since this disaster, and said he had “no concerns” for Opening Day in an upbeat interview. He claimed the offense was “healthy” and implied they’re simply done with spring training. So…what…gives?!
COVID protocols, of course.
Judge felt “under the weather” this morning after a planned day off, but checked out OK and will be good to go on Thursday, accompanying the team to New York.
Whether Judge was injured, had positive news to share, or it was something else entirely, this was another PR crisis consistent with the way this generation handles mystery of any kind. Something the fans need to know? Better stay absolutely silent so fans fear the worst.