CLEVELAND — Aaron Judge’s slump has carried him to the bench.
Judge is not in New York’s starting lineup for Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians, a move Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided was necessary to give the slugger a chance to regroup.
“He’s struggling. We felt we’d give him a day off and maybe it helps him. You try to do it a lot of different ways when guys are struggling. You keep running him out there. I just felt maybe a day off would do him some good.”
Judge is batting just .164 (11 of 67) with four homers, nine RBIs and 29 strikeouts since the All-Star break. His batting average has dropped from 329 to .299 and he struck out in 21 consecutive games.
“Mechanically he’s a little bit off,” Girardi said. “I think he’s missing some pitches he wasn’t missing the first half of the season and those are leading to his problems.”
With Indians ace Corey Kluber on the mound in the series opener, Girardi felt it was the right time to rest the power hitter.
Judge leads the majors with 34 homers but he’s not been connecting as of late, and Girardi wants to give the 25-year-old a mental break.
Girardi conceded that players can make things tougher on themselves in trying to get their swing back.
“I think a lot depends on how tough the guy is mentally,” Girardi said. “If you struggle for a while, you’re going to get frustrated. Is that pressing? I don’t know. Bottom line in either case you’re not happy with the results so you’re going to work at it, try to fix it.”
Girardi also gave designated hitter Matt Holliday a night off. He’s batting only .182 in his last nine games.
Judge and Holliday are both expected to be back in the lineup on Friday.