TAMPA — The Yankees start a 13-game stretch without a day off on Tuesday — as well as a three-game series on the unforgiving turf at Tropicana Field.
With Aaron Judge already dealing with “lower-leg stuff,” as Aaron Boone called it again on Sunday, the Yankees are still trying to figure out how to best handle the right fielder’s health as he looks to regain his stroke at the plate.
Boone held him out of the lineup on Sunday, saying they were being “proactive.” Judge ended up with a pinch-hit walk in the ninth in the series finale victory.
“His swing will be fine as long as he holds up physically,’’ one AL scout said who has seen Judge recently. “He’s always been a streaky hitter who’s had these stretches where he doesn’t look good. You just have to ride those out.”
It’s the holding up physically that could be the trickier part.
The Yankees have been vague throughout the season about Judge’s health issues, whether it was the side soreness that cost him two games surrounding a team off day a week into the season or the “lower-body stuff” Judge seems to have been dealing with for the past two weeks.
Judge has pointed to the hard turf at Tropicana Field as something that’s been tough on him in the past, so it’s unclear how much the Yankees will want him to play in the field during the series.
They’d also like to see him shake off his recent offensive skid. In his past seven games, Judge is 2-for-24 with three walks and 14 strikeouts — although he provided a clutch bloop hit in Saturday’s comeback victory over the Nationals in The Bronx.
And since homering three times in three games from April 27-30, Judge has just one extra-base hit, a double on May 1.
Judge on Saturday said he’d “been terrible at the plate” of late.
“Just being a little over-aggressive,’’ Judge said.
Tropicana Field isn’t just unkind to Judge in the field. He’s not had much success offensively there, either, with Tampa Bay consistently pitching him tough over the years.
He did, however, hit a pair of homers at Tropicana Field during the ALDS last year.