NEW YORK (AP) ”The Judge’s Chambers” remains closed as slumping slugger Aaron Judge was absent from the lineup again Wednesday as the New York Yankees opened a doubleheader with the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians.
Judge was held out of Monday’s series opener against 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and was out of the lineup Tuesday before the game was rained out. Manager Joe Girardi indicated Monday that the Judge would receive a few days off ”to try to refresh him and get him going.”
”I’m the player and he’s the coach,” Judge said. ”He tells me when I’m playing and when I’m not playing. He said he’s giving me a couple days off and that was it.”
Judge leads the American League with 37 home runs and a .581 slugging percentage but has tailed off dramatically since winning the Home Run Derby during the All-Star break. The big rookie is batting .179 with seven homers and 16 RBIs in the second half, dropping his overall average 49 points to .280.
”This is going to just refresh the body,” he said. ”Get a little refresher here for the last push. We’ve got a lot of important games coming up.”
Although the Yankees are playing a potential playoff opponent in Cleveland, they certainly want Judge in peak form for a four-game series against rival Boston beginning Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. Judge has only two hits in his last 18 at-bats. New York began the day four games behind the Red Sox in the AL East but led Minnesota by 2 1/2 games for the first AL Wild Card.
Judge has been dealing with a troublesome left shoulder for which he continues to receive treatment. While an MRI exam has not yet been scheduled, and a cortisone shot has been discussed, the right fielder noted that the time off, along with ice, compression and elevation, has been helpful.
”You can go around this whole clubhouse and we’re all kind of beat up,” he said. ”We’ve been playing every day since April, so, yeah, getting a day off doesn’t hurt.”
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