Yankees could have unorthodox Aaron Judge solution to Jasson Dominguez problem

Milwaukee Brewers v New York Yankees
Milwaukee Brewers v New York Yankees / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The New York Yankees can intentionally delay Jasson Dominguez's big-league readiness as long as they'd like. At some point, he's going to bash down the door with his fully healthy elbow. And, when that time comes -- sooner rather than later -- they'll have to make some adjustments to the way they do business on a nightly basis.

Dominguez has now progressed to playing center field during his minor-league rehab assignment, which has previously been spent exclusively mashing. The Yankees were always going to slow play their budding superstar, and when his rehab clock expires, he'll more than likely be returned to Scranton for some additional reps.

But, presuming he continues along his current path, there won't be much left for him to prove in the minors in a matter of weeks. At that point, no matter how much the Yankees are rolling, he would seem poised to serve as both a lineup lengthener and a relief for Aaron Judge in center field.

After all, center isn't Judge's natural position, despite the excellent work he's done so far filling the Yankees' early season gap. With every center field rep and every gap covered, Judge's legs are being put through largely unnecessary strain. Soto, Judge and Dominguez represent an imperfect fit, to say the least, as long as Giancarlo Stanton remains healthy and in the DH spot. But the Yankees are going to have to figure out a balance if they want Judge's production to last through the end of the year.

Pending this logjam "working itself out" tragically, in the same way that DJ LeMahieu's spot opened up with a Jon Berti injury, perhaps the Yankees should look to a different spot on their depth chart: Anthony Rizzo at first base.

Yankees should let Jasson Dominguez play center field soon, find way to save Aaron Judge's legs

Would Judge be willing to supplant his close friend at an unfamiliar position? Things might be uncomfortable at first, but Rizzo seems likelier to cede duties to a trusted partner rather than an import or green prospect like Ben Rice. No matter how vociferous a Rizzo defender you may be, it's impossible to defend a Judge/Rizzo lineup combination being more potent than Dominguez/Judge, at this point in time. Add in the defensive upgrade in the outfield and the breather down the stretch for the Yankees' captain, and the only missing element is a judgment of Judge's comfort at first.

How much experience does Judge have captaining the infield? To call it "minimal" would be an insult to minimalism; right now, the sum total of Judge's public reps at first base amount to a few go-rounds in spring training.

There have been plenty of insinuations over the years that Judge's size could eventually take him to first base/DH somewhere down the line of the long-term deal he signed after the 2022 season. No one expected the conversation to arrive this quickly.

But, then again, no one expected Judge to be moved off right field by a superstar who shines just as brightly, a Dominguez injury that forced the Yankees' captain into unfamiliar action, and a set of Rizzo struggles (both offensively and defensively) that have undermined the Yankees' hot start.

The initiative would have to come from Judge here, not management, but it's certainly something to watch for in the season's second half. Hopefully, all parties stay healthy and allow us to have these intriguing conversations, rather than a much more dour one.