Aaron Judge quiets injury concerns by crushing first home run of 2024 vs Arizona

All Rise. Phew.
New York Yankees v Arizona Diamondbacks
New York Yankees v Arizona Diamondbacks / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Any fears that Aaron Judge's sore midsection might be hurting his power output -- and that the temptation of playing alongside Juan Soto on a Vibe Champion was preventing him from sitting out -- were quelled just a bit on Wednesday afternoon.

The Yankees, in the midst of an 18-inning stretch without a run scored, let alone a homer, were saved by Judge one batter after Soto got rudely rung up on a 3-0 check swing (before grounding into a force).

Judge, as he's wont to do, lifted and separated, tattooing a pitch into the right-center swimming pool off devilish right-hander Merrill Kelly.

Arizona's second in command had diced up the Yankees through the three previous innings, but Judge made sure his first real mistake of the game hurt as much as it could've, giving New York a 2-1 lead in a flash.

Yankees Captain Aaron Judge slugs first home run of 2024 off brand name

If Judge was still feeling something there, he didn't show it. The only thing Yankee fans saw was a significant sign that he was close to breaking out of his slump, something everyone -- assuming health -- knew was coming.

Of course, it just had to be a prototypical home run, too, didn't it? Opposite field, into the sunlight, touching down in the cool, clear water, helping Soto overcome a rare moment of frustration. That's what a Captain does.

Now, until proven otherwise, it seems safe to go back to business as usual and high expectations for Judge, especially since by breaking his personal ice, he also ended the team-wide cold snap. This team can't get home to Yankee Stadium soon enough after a devilish seven-game road trip against contenders to open the season, and getting a red-hot Judge back would be a perfect homecoming gift.