New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone threw some cold water on any talk that Aaron Judge might play a different position in 2020. The outfielder is dealing with a fractured rib and there had been some rumors that a move to first base was on the table. The idea was that it would be less stressful playing the infield than chasing down fly balls.
Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report says Boone wasted very little time making sure that talk was ended late last week. The manager appeared on The Michael Kay Show and quickly squashed a Judge position swap.
“No, no, no, no. Sometimes when a guy has a few injuries and significant injuries, sometimes there is an unlucky, fluke thing. You are playing major league sports and injuries come with it.”
Boone also claimed Judge is an elite defender and there was never any talk about moving him to the infield. His defense is something that is often overlooked by baseball fans because of his offensive output. As it seems, the Yankees appear ready to allow him to try and heal and then return to his normal position rather than attempting to “rest” his rib and lose that defense in the corner outfield spot.
One of the reasons the Yankees were rumored to be looking at a move to first for the slugger is because of the perception he’s injury-prone. Zucker points out that while he’s missed parts of the last two seasons, the missed time is indicative of fluke injuries, as opposed to a brittle body.
In July 2018, Judge was hit by a pitch on the wrist. That pitch caused a fracture that had him miss about 50 games. Last April, he strained his oblique. According to Zucker, that’s not an injury that is rare among baseball players, especially hitters. All in all, the Yankees star missed 60 games total last year.
Despite missing about a third of the season in each of the last two years, Judge has shown how valuable he is to the Yankees. He bashed 27 home runs both seasons while playing elite defense.
Likewise, he’s still the outfielder who won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2017 after hitting 52 homers and driving in 114 runs.
There is one upside to the current delay in the Major League Baseball season — Judge has more time to get healthy enough to be playing every day alongside the team’s new ace pitcher, Gerrit Cole. The Yankees have said they believe he will be ready to go if and when the season does roll around.