Judge was hit in the right wrist when Jakob Junis missed with a four-seam fastball in the first inning in New York’s 7-2 victory Thursday. About an hour after New York secured its 65th win, it announced Judge sustained a chip fracture in the ulnar styloid bone.
The good news for the Yankees is surgery was not recommended. The Yankees will then be forced to wait three weeks until Judge can swing a bat in a game situation.
After getting hit, Judge reached on an infield single in the third was pulled in the fourth.
“I’m concerned obviously anytime our players have to leave the game with something and obviously Judgie’s so important,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game but before the Yankees announced the results of an MRI and CT scan. “So, we’ll just wait and hear what the diagnosis is and go from there.”
Judge was examined by team doctor Dr. Chris Ahmad and underwent an MRI at nearby New York Presbyterian Hospital. The Yankees did not release the results of the MRI, but Boone said Judge did not balk when he was lifted for pinch-hitter Miguel Andujar in the fourth.
“Just in watching him swing underneath,” Boone said. “(I) didn’t feel like the strength was there that he needed and at the time didn’t want to take any more chances with it. As you guys know Judgie’s as tough as they are.”
Judge is hitting .285 with 26 home runs and 61 RBIs in 99 games this season.
“I was just trying to go heater away and it totally got away from me,” Junis said of the pitch that hit Judge.
Judge became the second Yankee to land on the DL this week. On Tuesday, catcher Gary Sanchez was placed on the disabled list with a strained right groin that will keep him out until September.
Without Judge for three weeks, the Yankees will likely use Giancarlo Stanton for most of the time in right field. Stanton started there for the 22nd time Thursday.
It is also possible the Yankees could acquire a right fielder before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline after addressing pitching needs with trades for J.A. Happ and Zach Britton.
The Royals (31-71) reached 40 games under .500 for the third time this season and dropped to 6-6 in their last 12 games since losing 10 straight June 29-July 8.
They also dropped to 2-10 in their last 12 games at Yankee Stadium as shortstop Adalberto Mondesi committed two errors resulting in four unearned runs and putting the Royals behind early with New York’s bullpen looming.
“Their bullpen is really good, yeah,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s a good bullpen. It’s reminiscent of our good bullpens we had in 14 and 15.”
One player who remained hot for the Royals was Whit Merrifield, who stole two bases, had two hits and reached three times Thursday. He has reached base safely in 22 of his last 23 games and is hitting .367 in those contests.
CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.51 ERA) starts Friday for the Yankees and seeks his 244th win, which would give him sole possession of 54th place on the all-time list and break a tie with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal.
Sabathia was originally slated to start Tuesday in Tampa Bay but when the Yankees were rained out Sunday against the Mets, Boone decided to give the left-hander two extra days, especially since he had a lubricant injection in his arthritic right knee just before the All-Star break.
“We think he really benefits from it and push him back a few more days, we think it really benefits us and him on the long term for the rest of the season,” Boone said Sunday.
Sabathia will pitch on 12 days rest. He last pitched in a no-decision in Cleveland on July 14 when he allowed four runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
In his career, Sabathia is 32-20 with a 3.96 ERA in 75 starts when going six or more days in between starts.
Sabathia is 21-12 with a 3.15 ERA in 40 starts against the Royals. He took a 5-2 loss in Kansas City on May 18 when he allowed four runs on four hits in five innings.
Brad Keller will make his 31st appearance and 10th start for the Royals, whose team ERA is 5.32. Keller has emerged as one of Kansas City’s bright spots after being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds on Dec. 14.
Keller is 3-4 with a 3.20 ERA with a groundball rate of 57.2 percent. As a starting pitcher, Keller is 2-3 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
Keller will make his latest start on his 23rd birthday. In his final start as a 22-year-old, the right-hander allowed three runs on three hits in seven-plus innings of a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
The right-hander was moved to the rotation about two weeks after the Yankees visited Kansas City in mid-May. Keller threw 11 pitches in the eighth during Kansas City’s 5-2 victory May 18 when he retired Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, and Neil Walker.3, host, Judge, lost, Royals, Weeks, Yankees