Yankees News: Aaron Judge 'Absolutely Not' Moving to 1B, Per Aaron Boone

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 12:  Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees in action against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2019 in New York City. New York Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 11-8. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone ruled out a position change for right fielder Aaron Judge, who's recovering from a fractured rib and collapsed lung.

"No, no, no, no," Boone said last Thursday on The Michael Kay Show (via the New York Post's George A. King III). "Sometimes when a guy has a few injuries, and significant injuries, sometimes there is a unlucky, fluke thing. You are playing major league sports and injuries come with it."

Boone also called Judge "an elite defender" and said there was "never a discussion to move him."

Judge was limited to 112 games in 2018 and 102 games in 2019, slugging 27 home runs in each season after hitting an American League-leading 52 while winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2017. The injuries he suffered over both seasons don't point to firm concerns about his durability, though.

The two-time All-Star was hit by a pitch in July 2018 that fractured his right wrist. He strained his oblique last April, hardly a unique issue for a baseball player.

Boone speculated the 27-year-old fractured his rib while making a diving catch in September, but that doesn't necessitate something as drastic as a position change.

As the manager noted, Judge's defense can sometimes be overlooked because of his contributions at the plate. He was fifth among outfielders in defensive runs saved (20) and tied for second in ultimate zone rating (12.7), per FanGraphs.

Of course, the entire discussion is somewhat moot with the 2020 season on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ESPN's Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel reported the MLB and MLB Players Association are hopeful of an early June start.

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