You know what the Yankees absolutely never need? A prolonged Aaron Judge injury absence.
You know what they definitely don't need right now, on Judge's birthday and with the offense cratering? A prolonged Aaron Judge injury absence, due to an ill-advised (insane?) headfirst slide into third base on a steal attempt.
One minute, all was well. Judge was scalding a baseball into the left-field corner for his second double in as many innings. This one cleared the bases, scoring Anthony Volpe after he'd rapped an impressive bases-loaded single into right. The offense: Actually humming!
Then, Judge took off for third with Anthony Rizzo at the plate, which is just about the least defensible time to try a straight steal of third freaking base.
He slid weird. He got up in a hurry. He ran down the tunnel in the dugout, followed by trainers.
Aaron Judge Injury: Did Yankees superstar hurt himself stealing third base?
Who ordered the Code Red here? Was Aaron Boone trying to jumpstart an offense that had already been jumpstarted a few seconds prior? Was Judge getting desperate in the throes of adversity, which is the one thing a captain should never do?
Either way, Judge emerged in the dugout once more the next half-inning, smiling slightly, taking responsibility, tapping his chest, and appearing to be in no visible pain. We hope!
He's DHing in this contest, so we're happy to keep everyone informed on what his next at-bat looks like (if he takes it). Or, rather, not happy to do it. We don't want to be monitoring a self-inflicted Judge wound during what should've been the offensive outburst that changed this team's tide.
He certainly hasn't taken his hands off each other much in the dugout, cradling them in most shots from the YES camera and flexing them from time to time. Maybe somebody popped something back in? Maybe he's trying to deny the general soreness he just caused and blot it out?
But that's the 2023 Yankees for you. It's always something, and it's usually something unpleasant.