Aaron Boone unsure when Aaron Judge back in Yankees lineup

TAMPA — Aaron Boone spent Thursday the same way he spent Wednesday: unsure of when he might get Aaron Judge back in the lineup.

During an interview on WFAN, Boone was asked if Judge was hurt and said, “I’m hoping not.”

It came after Judge was forced out of the lineup Wednesday with what Boone called “general soreness” in his left side. Judge received treatment Wednesday and again Thursday, but Boone didn’t expect to know whether Judge would be available until the hours leading up to Friday’s series opener at Tampa Bay.

The fact the turf at Tropicana Field has given Judge trouble in the past certainly doesn’t help.

Though Boone again didn’t get into specifics regarding the injury, he admitted there was “concern’’ the oblique could be impacted, an issue Judge has dealt with previously.

But Boone also insisted that the soreness only developed Wednesday and was not a reason why he pulled the right fielder from Monday’s game after seven innings.

Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge
Getty Images

Judge’s health is not the only problem the Yankees have faced in the early going.

Gleyber Torres has been subpar at shortstop, building on the poor play he showed at the position last year. His throwing error Wednesday in The Bronx cost them a game and extended a troubling pattern.

Boone said Torres needed to be better, but mostly downplayed Torres’ mistakes.

He stressed Torres needed to stay “aggressive” defensively in the wake of some “high-profile miscues.”

There’s not much else for Boone to say, since there’s no real alternative at this point for the Yankees.

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The team was built with the idea they could mask Torres’ deficiencies defensively with shifting and his offense would make up for the rest.

So far, though, Torres has displayed poor timing and inadequate attention to detail and it’s already hurt the Yankees.

The infield was constructed so that they could maximize offense, with DJ LeMahieu at second, Luke Voit at first and Gio Urshela at third. There’s no real alternative at short, and when Voit returns from knee surgery — which is expected to be sometime next month — he’ll be in the lineup.

Gary Sanchez, while looking good at the plate Wednesday, also had a rough night in other ways. He didn’t get to second base on his line drive to left in the bottom of the eighth with the Yankees down a run, when Ryan Mountcastle misplayed the ball.

It didn’t end up hurting the Yankees, as pinch-runner Mike Tauchman managed to come around to score on Urshela’s double to tie the game. Boone was more critical of Sanchez nearly being thrown out on a force at second on Urshela’s sharp single to right in the fourth, when Boone thought Sanchez “took for granted” he would get to second.

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Boone said he talked to Sanchez “during the game and after the game” about the plays.

And Boone said he had no plans to move the struggling Aaron Hicks out of the three-hole, despite his 2-for-20 start to the season, which includes nine strikeouts and only three walks.

He said he reminds people baseball is “a scoring competition, not a hitting competition,” when the subject of Hicks’ spot in the order comes up, saying he still values Hicks’ ability to get on base to create traffic for the middle of the lineup.

So far, that scoring competition has been underwhelming for the Yankees, who split their first six games at home and outside of their pitching, still have plenty of questions to answer.

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