Yankees: Aaron Judge pinky injury update proves he’s gutting it out


Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is unequivocally injured as the team enters the season’s final stretch and — hopefully — a one-game playoff to determine their ultimate fate.

He doesn’t want you to notice, though.

Thus far, his electric bat is doing a pretty great job shielding the pain.

Judge went 2-for-2 with a home run in Tuesday’s win, the Yankees’ seventh straight, and first since he knocked his pinky out of place sliding into second base after tearing Fenway Park to the ground with a third-chance, two-run double.

That day, he got up from the bag, bleated, pumped his fist, then quickly realized his finger was sideways.

After Tuesday’s game, Judge took the opportunity to remind everyone that just because he’s playing — and thriving — doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

Yankees star Aaron Judge’s pinky is definitely causing him grief.

As observed from far away — like, as far away as Paul O’Neill’s basement — it seemed on Tuesday that Judge was more hesitant in the field than with the bat.

After the initial event, Judge promised us that he wouldn’t feel any pinky pain when swinging the bat and, well, we guess it’s true. He put two near-perfect swings on the ball in the Toronto opener, powering a game-tying home run to the opposite field, then cashing in the tie-breaking run with an effortless liner to the same field later on.

In the field, though, O’Neill could spot Judge being cautious with high fly balls that afforded him enough time to brace himself for impact. Did it affect the game? No, only the process. But it was no great surprise to learn in the postgame that Judge was still feeling it.

Judge’s finger pain is just the latest reminder that he isn’t afraid of playing hurt, an unfair representation of his soft-tissue issues from the past few years.

Remember, of course, that he fractured a rib (and potentially punctured a lung?) with a diving catch at the tail end of the 2019 season, and we never learned about it until spring 2020, long after he’d smacked a playoff home run off Justin Verlander, never missing a game.

The frustration with Judge should never be that he “refuses to gut it out”; we just don’t want to see him compromised in any way. The reality of Judge’s pain is quite the opposite.

As a nearly-full season comes to an end, this pinky incident indicates it’s a safe bet he battled plenty of things you’ll never know about throughout the campaign.