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Aaron Judge to take a couple games off due to ailing shoulder

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has had a dismal second half, coming into Monday’s action with a .692 OPS since the All-Star break. Judge has been bothered by a shoulder issue. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that Judge will get a couple games off to recuperate.

According to Hoch, the Yankees have asked Judge multiple times if the shoulder has been an issue, but Judge has always said “no.” Manager Joe Girardi says it reminds him of Derek Jeter, who was known for hiding and playing through injuries.

Judge, 25, set the baseball world on fire, entering the break with 30 home runs. He’s hit just seven in 41 games since. He hasn’t homered since August 16 and he has just two extra-base hits (both doubles) in that span of time.

The Yankees have managed to be successful despite Judge’s struggles, owning a 25-18 record since the break. Entering Monday’s game against the Indians, the Yankees are 2.5 games behind the first-place Red Sox in the AL East and hold a 3.5-game lead over the Twins for the first AL Wild Card slot.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.