Aaron Judge's stellar defense was among the highlights of a successful road trip for the New York Yankees.
One of those defensive plays also created a new injury concern, and the Yankees hope their slugger is available Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series with the visiting Chicago White Sox.
Judge made two notable catches during New York's 4-2 road trip against the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers. In Seattle, he leapt above the right field fence on Monday night to take a home run away from Teoscar Hernandez in a 10-4 win.
In the eighth inning of Saturday's 6-3 win at Dodger Stadium, Judge ran into the fence in right field and knocked open the door to the Yankee bullpen as he made a catch on J.D. Martinez with a runner on and nobody out.
Judge was held out as a precaution during Sunday's 4-1 win due to a bruised right toe, and the Yankees are hoping he can avoid a second injured list stint. The Yankees went 4-6 during his previous injured list appearance (strained right hip) and in 23 games since returning, Judge is batting .325 with 13 of his AL-best 19 homers.
"I really don't care at this point," Judge said when asked about a possible injured list stint. "If I'm on it, I'm on it. I'm trying not to be, but I got no answer yet. I'm hoping (Sunday) and (Monday) having a little bit of rest, it'll be good to go hopefully on Tuesday. We'll take it day to day right now."
With Judge's status uncertain, the Yankees are hoping to continue their recent roll. After rookie Anthony Volpe hit a two-run homer to secure a 4-1 win Sunday, the Yankees are 6-2 over their past eight since a three-game losing streak and 21-10 over their past 31 contests.
Chicago is respectable 12-7 over its past 19 games and heads to New York after completing a three-game sweep at home against the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox are on their third three-game winning streak of the season after Jake Burger hit a game-ending grand slam in the ninth inning of a 6-2 win on Sunday.
"Right now, the goal is to play good baseball and win every game we can. However we get them, we'll take them," Chicago starter Michael Kopech said. "Got a sweep this time, and that's big for us moving forward."
The Yankees will open the series with Clarke Schmidt (2-5, 5.01 ERA), who is 1-1 with a 1.72 ERA over his past three starts since getting tagged for seven runs against Tampa Bay on May 14.
Schmidt has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his past six starts, including Wednesday in Seattle, when he yielded three hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings of a 1-0 loss.
Schmidt is making his first career start against the White Sox. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless relief innings against them on May 14, 2022, in Chicago.
After their pitching staff held Detroit to one hit in 21 at-bats with runners in scoring position, the White Sox will send Lucas Giolito (4-4, 4.08) to the mound. The right-hander is attempting to win consecutive starts for the first time this year after allowing three runs on four hits in five innings during a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.
Giolito is 2-2 with a 6.30 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees.
--Field Level Media