Since landing on the disabled list July 27 after getting pelted in the wrist by a 93 mph fastball from Royals pitcher Jakob Junis, Aaron Judge has taken his time on the sidelines as an opportunity to observe his team’s dynamics.
The Yankees are 7-6 in 13 games since Judge injured his wrist, including a brutal four-game sweep at the hands of the AL East-leading Red Sox last weekend. Judge admitted being sidelined during such a vital series was frustrating.
“It was tough,” Judge told reporters while announcing his partnership with Oakley apparel company. “You always enjoy playing those games, especially how good both of our teams are this year. It kind of sparked the rivalry a little bit. It was tough, but I’m excited for when they come back to Yankee Stadium in a couple weeks.”
Despite struggling mightily in the vital Boston series, Judge said the competition was a good experience for the young Yankees roster. He acknowledged the Red Sox’s dominant play but was more interested in addressing how hard his team competed.
“That’s the biggest thing is that we keep battling — even if we got down early, it didn’t matter,” said Judge, who has hit .285 with 61 RBIs through 99 games this season. “We have a young team, too. For them to go out there in that environment and face some adversity, I think is going to help us down the road.”
With New York eight games behind Boston in the AL East, the question of whether the Yankees should aim for the wild-card spot or continue striving for the division lead has been a hot topic. But for Judge, the answer is simple.
“We’re always hunting for that division,” Judge said. “August just started. So for us, our goal has always been the division. It doesn’t matter how many games we’re back. We’re going to keep fighting for that.”
The 26-year-old slugger opened up about the support he’s received from his teammates, as well as how much he has enjoyed watching them from the sidelines. He specifically mentioned how much fun getting to “sit back and watch [Giancarlo Stanton] do his thing” has been. In the past 10 games, Stanton has registered 10 RBIs and four home runs, including a grand slam Wednesday night in a win over the White Sox.
Judge joked he hopes his job in right field is still available upon his return, for which he said there’s no timetable yet. He said he hopes to get back to contributing to the team soon, while noting how much of an impact rookies Miguel Andújar (.292) and Gleyber Torres (.274) have had on the team.
“We have such a great young team, and it’s just been fun to kind of sit back — it hasn’t been fun, sitting back and watching — but being sidelined and getting a chance to watch this team, there’s so much talent on the field,” Judge said. “It’s something special to watch.”
As for his wrist, Judge said his recovery remains on track.
“It’s feeling alright. It could be better,” Judge said. “I’m still right on track. I feel like hopefully swinging the bat here in the next couple of days, next week, at some time. We don’t really have a time table on that yet. I know shortly we should start ramping it up and get going, swinging again.”
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