Just five games into the season, Judge received his first mysterious benching, which came prior to an off day.
Naturally, this set off alarm bells for Yankees fans who watched Judge be innocently yanked from a seven-run game against the Atlanta Braves last year only to watch him suffer from leg maladies and hit the IL twice in the aftermath.
Judge didn’t play Friday, and was diagnosed with “general side soreness,” which the team refused to investigate further.
Much to everyone’s surprise, though, the big man was in the lineup Saturday…and again on Sunday! He played the difficult outfield under the flesh-colored bag at Tropicana Field twice, and reportedly checked out alright.
Reporters made the mistake of askingJudge what caused the injury after Sunday’s game, though, and we unfortunately went right back to word salad here.
Yankees OF Aaron Judge got injured…swinging too much?
Whatever the explanation really is, this decidedly is not it. It…can’t be it. There can’t be a…limit to how many swings an in-his-prime Judge is allowed to take before feeling mysterious pain.
At this point, Judge’s career arc is what it is. When available, he’s a top-five player in the game in all facets. When not available, there’s always some sort of amorphous reasoning behind the problem.
Hearing Judge took too many swings in the cage on April 7 isn’t exactly comforting for fans who want to believe the best is yet to come, and his injury woes are mostly freakish and/or a thing of the past.
Plus, is this…the first time he or the team acknowledged his injury? Because the last time Marly Rivera pressed Aaron Boone similarly on the issue, he did a phenomenal tap dance to avoid calling this famous “soreness” an injury.
So, what have we learned? We’ve learned the Yankees are reticent to play Judge on turf in Tampa, but will do so two consecutive days following a mystery ailment.
We’ve learned Judge was maybe injured and maybe not, but if he was, the injury might’ve come from swinging too much during the first week of April in the indoor cages.
Worrisome, to say the least, and we’re not exactly out of the woods yet.