8:17pm: Judge left after experiencing tightness in his “calf area,” manager Aaron Boone told James Wagner of the New York Times and other reporters. Asked about a potential MRI for Judge, Boone said, “We’ll see.”
8:06pm: Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge didn’t get through his entire first game in his return from the 10-day injured list Wednesday. Judge departed after five innings against the Braves, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. It’s unclear why Judge exited, but the team replaced him with Clint Frazier while nursing a 1-0 lead.
Judge’s latest IL stint came as a result of a mild right calf strain that shelved him for the minimum period of time. Yet another notable injury for Judge would be a significant blow to an injury-battered New York club that entered Wednesday night with four straight losses and now sits a game and a half back of the Rays in the AL East. The Yankees do own a wild-card spot right now, but they’re in a weakened state with DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton and Zack Britton on the IL.
As has been the case throughout his career, Judge has been one of the driving forces behind the Yankees’ success this year. The hulking slugger has slashed .292/.343/.748 with nine home runs in 71 plate appearances a month into 2020. There’s no realistic hope of replacing that production, though Frazier, Aaron Hicks and Mike Tauchman have also provided above-average numbers from the Yankees’ outfield. On the other hand, the long-steady Brett Gardner has gotten off to a woeful start this year.