At some point, simply being off the injured list will not be enough and Aaron Judge will need to be the right-handed bat in the Yankees' rack.
That time was not Friday night when Judge returned after a two-month stint on the injured list because of a strained left oblique muscle and hitless in four at bats.
And for all the buzz around Judge's Return, the Yankees' lineup was made for a third straight game by Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres, whose home runs led the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over the Astros in front of 41,116 delighted Stadium customers.
While Giancarlo Stanton and Judge were out, Sanchez and Torres, along with Luke Voit, helped fill the power ̵
Sanchez and Torres each homered for a third straight game and drove in All four of the Yankees run at seventh consecutive victory.
Starting with the top-of-the-first roll call from the bleachers, the Stadium was abuzz with everything Judge, but in the end Sanchez and Torres carried the 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge on t heir broad shoulders, who were strong enough to support the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Stanton, who also went 0-for-4 and struck out looking three times.
Judge grounded out in the first, struck out in the third and fifth and flied out in the seventh. In between the whiff in the third and the fly out, Sanchez and Torres each hit a two-run homer, which was enough to back the strong pitching of James Paxton and five relievers.
"It was just like [before] I left, quality at bats against tough pitcher, "Judge said when asked what he thought of Sanchez and Torres, who homered off Brad Peacock and Hector Rondon, respectively. Sanchez has 23 homers, which tied him with teammate Edwin Encarnacion for the AL lead. Torres has 18.
The mind-numbing boredom that is a big part of rehabbing an injury is complete. Now the hard part of coming back from an injury starts for Judge. It's nice that Judge is back, but the face of the Yankees eventually needs to be produced.
Thanks, however, to Sanchez, Torres, Stanton, Voit and Judge there should be enough power to go around.
Three out of He was becoming a great player, Aaron Boone said of Torres, who started a crucial double play with a hitter. glove flip to Didi Gregorius at short that ended the first with two runners on and one out.
Informed of the manager's compliment, the 22-year-old Torres typically downplayed the praise.
every night, '' said Torres, who with DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Sanchez, Voit and Judge advanced to the next round of All-Star voting. "And try to do my job. ''
Only the moronic masses who trick themselves into being baseball fans with shallow opinions delivered through big dumb mouths will view Judge's performance Friday night as a failure.
First, the Yankees won . Next, Judge has faced major league pitching in more than two months.
The time is coming when Judge will be asked to carry the load for a lineup that will eventually go cold. Then it will be time to perform and trump simply being off the IL.
And what he means to our club, "Boone said. "To have him back now and knowing he is good and ready to go, good and ready to go is exciting."
So, too, for the manager is understanding that a savior. There will be plenty of time for that later.