The Yankees are placing Aaron Judge back on the injured list with a similar low-grade calf strain to the one that shelved him earlier this month, manager Aaron Boone tells reporters (Twitter link via James Wagner of the New York Times). Judge only just came off the injured list this week, but he exited his first game back with tightness in his problematic calf muscle.
There’s little doubt that Judge is among the game’s best all-around offensive performers when he’s healthy enough to take the field. He’s batting a ridiculous .292/.343/.738 with nine homers through 18 games and 71 plate appearances so far in 2020 and owns a career .274/.392/.556 line. But injuries have continually hampered Judge since his incredible rookie season in 2017.
The fractured wrist that Judge suffered upon being hit by a pitch back in 2018 can be chalked up as a fluke, of course, and the same could perhaps be said about the cracked rib and subsequent punctured lung he sustained on a bid for a diving catch last September. However, Judge has also now had multiple IL stints for oblique and calf injuries alike. In all, he missed 50 games in 2018, 60 games in 2019 and will now be sidelined for a yet-to-be-determined period in 2020 (already having missed 15 days with the first calf injury).
As has become typical in recent years, a resilient Yankees club has found a way to weather the storm in light of injuries to Judge and several other key players (Luis Severino, James Paxton, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres). Still, it’s a staggering amount of talent to be shelved simultaneously, and the Yankees are beginning to show the effects; they’ve dropped five straight games and now trail the Rays by two and a half games in the AL East. At the moment, they’re closer in the standings to the third-place Blue Jays than to Tampa Bay.