Aaron Boone: Yankees 'capable of getting things done' without Aaron Judge

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Saturday, July 28, 2018

NEW YORK -- As theYankeesturn to others to help account for the expected three-week absence ofAaron Judgefor 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."

Judge believes in his teammates. But he's also anxious to get back with them as quickly as he can.

"I want to be out there with my guys every day," Judge said Friday, a day after suffering the injury in the Yankees' 7-2 win over the Kansas City Royals. "That's always the goal. I want to play 162-plus with my team. I always felt like the sign of great players are the guys that are battling and grinding every day with their team.

"It's tough, but there's nothing I can do about it now. I've got to move on, get healthy and get ready for that [postseason] run."

The Yankees have to move on for now, too. While it's possible they 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 Hicksand fellow power hitter Giancarlo Stanton, who will be replacing Judge in right field 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 Royals, before the game was postponed due to rain. The Yankees and Royals will play in a doubleheader Saturday, beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET.

"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 Yankeesspelled out forJudge'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.Boone added that Judge was not in a cast and already had begun treatments.

During pregame ceremonies Friday, however, Judge appeared on the field wearing a black soft cast around his right hand and wrist. He said the cast was to be worn when he wasn't getting treatment, as it helped ease swelling.

Judge was on the field as part of a brief ceremony honoring the family of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, a Bronx teen who was killed last month when gang members brutally beat him, mistakenly thinking he was from a rival gang.

Judge hurt the ulnar styloid bone when he was hit by a 93 mph fastball from Royals right-handerJakob Junison Thursday night. 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.

Judge said he was happy with the three-week diagnosis. It calmed the initial fears he had when he first got hit.

"I've gotten hit in the forearm or in that area before. But this one I knew when I got it right in that spot that it was a little different," Judge said. "[But] it could've been a lot worse."

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.

Jacoby Ellsburyremains on the disabled list with a back injury. Boone said Ellsbury, who hasn't played this season, still hadn't been cleared for baseball activities.

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."

Judge said that for now, his treatment relies on trainers controlling the swelling in his wrist, as well as him managing his level of pain. Once the pain goes away, his range of motion will return, and he'll be able to start contributing again.

"I'm glad it happened now instead of the last week of September, or the last couple weeks of September," Judge said. "You've got to make a positive out of it."

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