Aaron Judge was the toast of the town entering Wednesday's series finale against the Twins in Minnesota. Despite the Yankees' recent offensive struggles, it was his 31st birthday, and he was looking to smash his third career b-day home run from the DH role.
Unfortunately, after his second double of the game, he opted to smash a body part instead, slamming his hand/wrist into the bag and dirt while attempting to steal third base (???) with Anthony Rizzo at the plate.
Ultimately, Judge stayed in the game after sprinting into the tunnel with the team's trainers, though he was spotted flexing and holding his right hand in the aftermath of the incident. After going down with the injury, Judge went 1-2 with a walk, single and strikeout, staying in the team's statement win through the end.
After the game, the media caught up with Judge to get his perspective on his health. Judge, with the same sly face he usually uses to dispel them, emphatically declared himself good to go with a quote that ... doesn't totally assure you he's not feeling the pain, either.
That's the Aaron Judge Way, and that's why he's the Captain of the Yankees: stardom and obfuscation.
Yankees star Aaron Judge could play on Wednesday (hand injury). But should he have played?
Until the Yankees prove that Wednesday's run-scoring output is the norm rather than an outlier, they'll be in desperate need of Judge's services. No time is a good time for a team's most prominent superstar to go down, but "one week after Giancarlo Stanton got hurt and the offense is spiraling) is one of the worst times.
Add the fact that Judge's wound, however painful it may be, was self-inflicted, and you have the potential for hysteria.
Judge knows his body better than anyone, and swallowed his pain to deliver a line-drive single, as well as a few well-struck foul balls. In the fourth inning, the Twins even walked him while nobody knew whether he was anything more than a decoy, which was nice of them.
It wouldn't be shocking to hear Judge underwent further tests before first pitch in Texas on Thursday, and it would not be out of character for the Yankees to supersede his will and pull him from the lineup for the opener against the Rangers, either.
But, on Wednesday? Judge was playing. And you can either play or you can't.