As Aaron Hicks lands on the 10-day DL, could Aaron Judge see time in center field?
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 30, 2018
How many Aarons does it take to replace one Aaron? Thanks to New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, we could find out the answer to that question soon.
“Yes,” was Boone’s response when asked if playing Judge in center field was something that he would realistically consider, via the YES Network. “It is. You know, with Ells (Jacoby Ellsbury) not here yet.”
While the rookie skipper acknowledged that the team was comfortable with Brett Gardner taking over for the injured Aaron Hicks in center field, but prefer to take a more cautious approach with the 34-year-old left fielder.
“As I told him and as I think I told you guys, especially early, I just don’t want to run him into the ground. I don’t want to wear him out,” Boone explained. “While we’re in a situation of need right now, you still have to, I think, look at it through that lens and I gotta protect him, especially after playing four games on the turf.”
Hicks, who Boone acknowledged didn’t want to go on the disabled list, isn’t expected to need a lengthy stay on the disabled list with a strained right intercostal muscle. So sliding Judge to center field wouldn’t be a long-term move.
The reigning American League Rookie of the Year has played a total of 48 innings over 11 games—three starts—in center field as a professional ballplayer. He last spent time there in 2016 while with the team’s Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders.
At six-foot-seven and 282 pounds, Judge would look grossly out of place in the middle of the outfield. But given his athleticism, there’s no reason to think that he couldn’t handle things there on a short-term basis.
Should Judge vacate right field, it’s safe to assume that Giancarlo Stanton, who has served as the team’s designated hitter for the first two games of the season, would take his place.
Prospect Billy McKinney was called up on Friday and replaced Hicks in the lineup against Toronto.