The Yankees were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday, but in the immediate aftermath, Aaron Judge remained steadfast in his intention to play the rest of the season.
The Yankees captain has been playing at less than 100 percent health since coming back from a torn ligament in his big right toe at the end of July, but he reiterated Sunday that he plans on seeing the final week of the season through.
“I’m planning on being out there,” Judge said after the Yankees fell to the Diamondbacks, 7-1, in The Bronx. “There was talks of stuff getting shut down, but I gotta be out there. A leader on this team, especially with these young guys we got coming up, you gotta show them that you gotta post even if you’re not feeling good, not feeling great. You gotta be out there every single day for your teammates.
“So yeah, I’m going to be out there.”
Aaron Judge reacts after striking out on a pitch from Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen to end the fifth inning on Sunday.JASON SZENES FOR THE NEW YORK POST
The reigning AL MVP has started 50 of the Yankees’ 55 games since returning, seemingly looking healthier as the season has gone on.
When Judge came back from the injured list July 28, the Yankees said he had gotten to a point where he was not at serious risk of making things worse by playing through the toe injury — even if it might not fully heal until the offseason.
Judge, who is hitting .433 with a 1.508 OPS over his last nine games, does not plan on that offseason beginning until next Monday, the day after the regular season ends.
As for whether Aaron Boone will deploy players differently over the final seven games now that the Yankees have been eliminated, the manager didn’t rule it out.
“But again, we got a week to go and we want to play well,” Boone said. “We have the Diamondbacks [Monday] that are in a playoff chase and certainly Toronto, going there in a playoff chase. So, important to be respectful of that while also being, first and foremost, protective of our guys. But we also want to go out and try to put our best foot forward here this final week and at least finish strong.”