Boone: Yanks 'absolutely' can win without Judge
NEW YORK — As the Yankees turn to others to help account for the expected three-week absence of Aaron Judge for a chip fracture in his right wrist, manager Aaron Boone said he couldn’t anticipate the future but that he “absolutely” thought they had a team that, even without the slugger, could win.
“That’ll be our expectation, and whether we get reinforcements or whatever, who knows?” Boone said Friday. “I don’t think in that room we really concern ourselves with that because we feel like absolutely we have the men capable of getting things done.”
While it’s possible the Yankees make a trade to land a veteran outfielder before the end of the non-waiver trade deadline Tuesday, it’s likely they will stand pat.
Boone said he believes in the outfielders on his roster, including Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks and fellow power hitter Giancarlo Stanton, who will be replacing Judge in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future. The manager had Stanton batting second (Judge’s customary spot) and playing right field in Friday’s batting order against the Kansas City Royals.
“We can absolutely go out there and take care of business while he’s down, and hopefully when he comes back it’ll just be an added bonus,” Boone said of Judge.
Boone called the three-week timetable the Yankees spelled out for Judge’s potential return “realistic.”
“The three weeks is a possibility that he could be in a game,” Boone added. “Whether that’s a rehab or whether it’s before that or just after, that all remains to be seen.”
Boone, speaking for the first time since Judge’s diagnosis, said it also was likely the right fielder would take dry swings and do work off a batting tee as soon as next week. Judge is not in a cast and already has begun treatments.
The right fielder hurt the ulnar styloid bone when he was hit by a 93 mph fastball from Jakob Junis in Thursday night’s 7-2 Yankees win over the Royals. Judge originally stayed in the game, but he came out after reaching on an infield single in his following at-bat. Taken to a nearby hospital for an MRI and CT scan, the additional evaluation revealed a partial bone break.
No surgery was recommended, helping advance the odds that Judge returns within the approximate three-week window the Yankees announced late Thursday.
“Obviously, one of the best players in the league. So it’s a blow,” Boone said of Judge, the Yankees’ leader in homers, extra-base hits, on-base percentage and OPS. “We also feel like we have the capability of rallying and picking up the slack and being able to step up. Other guys have more opportunities.”
With Judge being sent to the 10-day disabled list Friday afternoon, utility player Tyler Wade‘s opportunities could increase. The 23-year-old infielder, who had just been optioned to Triple-A on Wednesday, was recalled by the major league team Friday to take Judge’s place. Although he has primarily spent time at second base, Wade has played in the outfield in the minor leagues.
Minor leaguer Clint Frazier, a 23-year-old outfielder who has split time on the major league and Triple-A roster, would have been an option over Wade had he been healthy. Frazier, however, is dealing with post-concussion migraines and was sent Friday to the team’s training facility in Tampa, Florida.
Frazier is on the Yankees’ DL after a July 11 collision in a game in Baltimore caused him to feel nausea. Frazier previously received a concussion in spring training that took him about two months to get over. After a dive in a minor league game earlier this week led to the migraines, he was shut down.
“Clint’s part of that [outfield] depth, and obviously is a guy that’s been knocking on the door for more and more playing time. But we’ve got to get him right first,” Boone said. “He’s got to get to a point where he’s symptom-free and good to go.
“Once he is, he certainly becomes an option.”