August 12, 2020 | 4:59pm | Updated August 12, 2020 | 7:44pm
No matter how high Aaron Boone is on Clint Frazier, there is no way the Yankees improved their lineup Wednesday night when the manager didn’t have Aaron Judge healthy enough to face the Braves.
After leaving Tuesday night’s 9-6 win over the Braves in the sixth inning, when the Yankees led by five runs, Boone said Judge was OK following the victory.
But Judge wasn’t in the lineup Wednesday due to lower-body tightness. Instead, Frazier, who was recalled from the alternate site Tuesday, was in right field and hitting eighth. Luke Voit hit in Judge’s No. 2 spot. Boone went with the right-handed hitting Frazier over the lefty-swinging Mike Tauchman versus Braves right-hander Huascar Yona.
“Essentially what is going on with Aaron is I made a quick decision in the game just based on how I felt he was moving around and coming off a series in which he was on the turf,’’ Boone said of the Yankees playing four games in three days on the fake grass at Tropicana Field. Judge played all four games in right. “I made a decision to get him out of there and see where we were as we evaluated him after the game. He wanted to play [Wednesday] and I made the decision to hold him out today knowing we have an off day [Thursday]. He is just dealing with lower-body tightness that we are hoping to get out ahead of and prevent an injury moving forward.’’
Asked to delve further into the lower-body tightness, Boone identified some body parts.
“All over the lower body where he is dealing with some rigors, the hips and down into the hamstrings and calves,’’ Boone said. “I think it is a result of the four games of pounding in three days down in Tampa.’’
With Giancarlo Stanton going on the injured list with a left hamstring injury, suffered in Saturday’s game against the Rays, the Yankees’ lineup, which has multiple dead bats, can’t afford to be without Judge for an extended period of time. Entering Wednesday night’s action, Judge led the majors with nine homes and was tied for the RBI lead with 20.
Watching Judge move around the outfield with a little bit of caution Wednesday was enough for Boone to pull Judge.
Asked if Judge would be ready for Friday night’s game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, Boone said, “I hope so, but in a lot of ways that is a long way from now. Let’s get through today. [Thursday] will be valuable, able to get treated and get some rest but we will see where we are at.’’
As for Frazier, he made the Opening Day roster and was sent to the alternate site in Scranton two days later. On the way out, he met with general manager Brian Cashman and Boone to ask where he fit on a club with talented outfielders.
“There were a lot of questions like what was expected of me when I go down there. What do I need to do to get back and ultimately where is my place,’’ said Frazier, who hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 69 games last year. “It’s a really good team and I feel I am ready. There have been a lot of guys in front of me and it’s been frustrating. I feel like I am ready and hoping to make the most of an opportunity.’’
In years past, Frazier, 26 next month, has been criticized for drawing attention to himself. Those traits didn’t surface in the first spring training by design.
“Obviously I have been faced with a lot of situations whether it was warranted or unwarranted but I wanted to show up to spring training giving people one thing to talk about and that was performance,’’ Frazier said. “There is a lot of stuff that comes with being a New York Yankee. Unfortunately I found out a way to become a distraction in some areas. I am just here to find my role and fit that role.’’