Yankees said to be eyeing Twins outfielder Josh Willingham

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Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has the scoop …

The Yankees, perhaps as concerned about their offensive issues as their rotation, are looking at outfielder Josh Willingham and some other bats.

The Yankees may actually prefer Willingham to Marlon Byrd or Alex Rios, perhaps partly because of Willingham’s reasonable $7 million salary and status as a free agent after the season.

Rios is getting a $12 million salary this year from the Rangers and carries a $14 million club option (or a $2 million buyout) for 2015.

Byrd is making an $8 million salary this season from the Phillies and is owed another $8 million salary in 2015. The 36-year-old corner outfielder also has an $8 million vesting option for the 2016 campaign.

Willingham, 35, is batting .215/.357/.420 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI through 56 games this season.

The Yankees want to upgrade over right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who has been forced into the lineup.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.