AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
New York Yankees star Aaron Judge is out of the lineup for Thursday’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox due to a lower-body injury, manager Aaron Boone announced.
Boone added that Judge would be available to be used in a pinch-hit situation.
Judge has been one of the top hitters in baseball this season, entering the day with an MLB-leading 30 home runs and a .287 average in 80 games.
The only question is whether the outfielder can remain on the field as he tries to lead the Yankees to a title.
The 30-year-old stayed healthy in 2021, appearing in 148 games after injuries slowed him down the past few years. The outfielder played just 28 of 60 games during the shortened 2020 campaign after missing 110 games over the previous two years combined.
Aside from the nine games he missed in July while on the COVID-19 list, Judge avoided the issues that plagued him in the past.
Judge took advantage of the opportunity while earning his third All-Star selection before finishing fourth in MVP voting. He ended the year with a .287 average and 39 home runs with 98 RBI.
Losing this type of production in the lineup would hurt the Yankees as they try to contend in the AL East, but there is quality outfield depth between Giancarlo Stanton, Joey Gallo and others.
Missing an extended stretch could also be damaging for Judge, who can hit free agency after this season.