Yankees keep a cautious eye on Aaron Judge

Judge missed 42 games after tearing a ligament in his right big toe when he crashed into the right field fence at Dodger Stadium on June 3. That was one of the main reasons why New York was left without a chance to advance to the postseason.

“I think this is going to be a constant maintenance, I think for the rest of my career,” Judge said Tuesday. “Any injury like this makes you just have to take care of it so it doesn’t happen again.”

The affable slugger returned on July 28 and ended up hitting .262 with 37 home runs and 75 RBIs in 106 games.

“I keep getting hurt in right field, so I think that’s why they moved me to center,” he said, to the laughter of those present at a press conference.

“I think the important thing is to play in a more intelligent way, understanding the field and the dimensions. In this case, I thought I could go one step too far and I couldn’t do it in that situation, so this is my responsibility. I have to be a little smarter there. This year I have to play smarter, but I don’t think there will be any more concrete wall bases in center field.”

Judge hit 62 home runs in 2022, breaking the American League record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961. The Yankees averaged .202 during his absence last summer.

It was the worst figure in the Major Leagues, and New York was excluded from the postseason, something that had not happened since 2016.

“A lot of kids were embarrassed,” Judge recalled. “It was like a warning sign. “I think as a group we all looked at each other and promised ourselves that this can’t happen to us again.”

In his first season as captain of the Yankees, Judge watched his Yankees finish with an 82-80 record, their worst since 1992. The drought stretched to 14 years without winning a World Series, the franchise’s worst since last season. from 1978 to 96.

“This still bothers me and hurts me,” Judge acknowledged.