Judge in lineup after missing 2 games with side soreness

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is back in New York’s lineup after missing two games with soreness in his left side.

Judge started in right field and batted second Saturday against AL champion Tampa Bay. He didn’t play in the Yankees’ 4-3, 11-inning loss to Baltimore on Wednesday and also sat out Friday’s 10-5 loss to the Rays.

New York had Thursday off.

“I just wanted to hold him out coming off the off day another day,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Speaking to him this morning, he felt ready to go. So excited to write his name back in the lineup.”

Third baseman Gio Urshela was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list and was in the lineup after sitting out Friday’s series opener due to side effects from a vaccination.

Infielder Rougned Odor completed intake testing and was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list. Acquired in a trade with Texas, he will fill in when starting infielders are rested.

“I expect him to probably be in the lineup potentially a couple days a week,” Boone said.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year, Judge missed 142 games spanning 2018-20, going on the injured list at different points for a right wrist fracture, a left oblique strain and twice for right calf strains. He also broke a rib last March but was ready for opening day after the pandemic delayed the start of the season.

Judge took batting practice on Friday.

“Just trying to be cautious here obviously with him early,” Boone said. “We’ll certainly be monitoring how he’s doing and how he’s moving and how he’s looking and listening to his feedback, making sure we put him in the best possible position to go out there healthy.”

NOTES: Clint Frazier, who has struggled defensively recently in left field, was given a break Saturday and replaced by Brett Gardner. Boone said Frazier has not lost his starting spot. … INFs Mike Ford and Tyler Wade were both optioned to the alternate site. … With Wade’s departure, Urshela will be the backup shortstop behind Gleyber Torres.

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