Judge was hit in the lat and pulled from Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against Toronto, but he is fine, according to Brendan Kuty of The Newark Star-Ledger. Judge was drilled by a 96 mph fastball and immediately removed from the contest, but Yankees interim manager Carlos Mendoza indicated after the game that the slugger was pulled because he was slated for only two plate appearances regardless of the outcome. At this point, there appears to be no concern about Judge needing to miss any time. In his other plate appearance Wednesday, Judge lined out to right field.
Judge stated Sunday that he'll play in every other game at the start of spring training, Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record reports. Judge is healthy entering Grapefruit League play, but it makes sense for New York to be cautious with the slugger given his rash of injuries over the past three seasons. As long as he's able to avoid injury, Judge is expected to slot in as the Yankees' starting right fielder and bat near the top of the team's batting order.
Judge and the Yankees have not yet engaged in talks about a contract extension, Brendan Kuty of The Newark Star-Ledger reports. Judge isn't set to become a free agent until 2023 -- next season will be his final year of arbitration -- so the lack of extension talks is not necessarily telling when it comes to interpreting the Yankees' interest in locking him up long term. Still, the slugger has missed over 140 regular-season games over the past three seasons, so it wouldn't be shocking if New York has some level of trepidation about his ability to stay on the field. A healthy and productive 2021 campaign would likely ease those fears and set Judge up for a massive payday.
Judge has changed his offseason routine, working on his flexibility rather than only lifting weights, Brendan Kuty of The Newark Star-Ledger reports. Judge has battled a number of injuries in the past few seasons, including oblique and calf strains. Across the past three campaigns, he's spent a combined 146 days on the injured list. While these types of reports are hardly unique at this time of the offseason, Judge has the potential to be a standout source of power in the 2021 season if he can remain on the field.
Judge signed a one-year, $10.175 million contract with the Yankees on Friday to avoid arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The 28-year-old will receive an eight-figure salary in 2021after posting a .257/.336/.554 slash line with nine homers in 28 games last season. Judge figures to be in the MVP race again this season if he can stay healthy, which isn't a guarantee given his injury issues over the past three seasons.