Aaron Judge Benched by Yankees to 'Refresh' Star Amid Slump

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27:  Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees in action against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on August 27, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Mariners 10-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Monday he plans to bench right fielder Aaron Judge in order to "refresh him and get him going," YES Network's Jack Curry reported.

Aaron Hicks will start in right field for the Yankees in their game against Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.

Judge was a revelation to begin the regular season, to the extent he was building a case to be MVP. However, the right-handed slugger has struggled mightily in the second half of the year.

In 41 second-half games, Judge is batting .179 and slugging .352, down from .329 and .691, respectively, in the first half, per Baseball-Reference.com. He also set an MLB record by striking out at least once in 37 straight games.

The New York Post noted Judge has been icing his left shoulder after games but reported the rookie told the team it hasn't caused him any issues during games.

Entering Monday, the Yankees were 3.5 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins for the first wild-card spot in the American League.

Hicks has played well this season after a disappointing first season in New York in 2016. He's batting .260 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI in 76 games and is a great defensive outfielder.

Still, Hicks doesn't boast Judge's power, and getting Judge back to his first-half self would be a significant boost to the Yankees as they look to return to the playoffs after missing out last year.

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