Yankees will use Aaron Judge at DH ‘a lot’ to help conserve All-Star’s energy

Aaron Judge won’t get much rest during the All-Star break, but Aaron Boone is giving him a midseason break of sorts.

Boone said Friday that Judge will get “a lot” of action at designated hitter while Giancarlo Stanton is out with a hamstring injury, using this stretch to help preserve the slugger’s body while he continues to terrorize opposing pitchers.

“Just a chance to give him a little bit of a physical blow in the middle of the season,” Boone said Friday before hosting the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

Judge started at DH on Friday for the fifth time in the last six games after starting there 13 times through the first 84 games of the season.


Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after he scores on his solo home run in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium, Tuesday, July 2, 2024.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after he scores on his solo home run in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

He has started 62 games in center field and had been DHing once or twice a week when Stanton was healthy.

But until Stanton returns, potentially later this month, the Yankees plan to use Judge more heavily at DH with Trent Grisham expected to see more action in center field.

”I think right now with Stanton being out, getting a chance to mix in there and keep me out of center field — whatever gives us the best lineup, to be honest,” Judge said. “If you’re getting a Gold Glover in center field, we gotta do that. So I’m all good with it.”

The Yankees moved Judge to center field this year to accommodate the arrivals of Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, which stoked some concern about how the 6-foot-7, 282-pounder would hold up physically with more ground to cover.


Yankees right fielder Juan Soto #22 celebrates with New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge #99 after he scores on his two-run home run driving home New York Yankees Trent Grisham during the 7th inning.
Juan Soto (22) celebrates with Aaron Judge after he scores on his two-run home run. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

But Judge, who relishes playing center, has responded by putting together another dominant offensive season, entering Friday batting .314 with a league-leading 32 home runs and 1.135 OPS.


Boone said he spoke with Grisham about his error in center field Thursday, when his nonchalant approach to a ground ball led to a bobble that allowed Jeimer Candelario to pick up an extra base.

”Just understanding that, especially when you go through these things, it’s a bad look,” Boone said. “But at the same time, one of the reasons he’s a Gold Glove center fielder is because of his heartbeat, the reads, the jumps, the ease with which he plays the position. You don’t want to lose that in there. But with that, just be mindful of certain routine things.”


The Yankees are by no means burners on the bases, but they entered Friday having not stolen a base over their last 17 games, going 0-for-4 in that stretch.

“Through this few-week stretch, we’ve been down a lot two, three, four runs — not real conducive for a team like us to just start running certain guys,” Boone said. “We’re going to look for spots, but I don’t want to run into outs because we gotta run when maybe it’s not the right matchup or personnel.”

Coming into Friday, the Yankees had stolen 37 bases on the year, second-fewest in the majors.


Jon Berti (calf strain) took batting practice and ground balls at third base before Friday’s game, staying on track to start a rehab assignment shortly after the All-Star break.

“As we’re ramping up, it’s been feeling good,” said Berti, who estimated he was running at around 75 percent. “Excited to build on it.”

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