Kevin Youkilis exits early Thursday, but expects to play Friday

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Kevin Youkilis put a little fright into Red Sox Nation* on Thursday night when he made an eighth-inning exit from the club’s 6-2 victory over the Orioles.

It turns out he’s going to be just fine.

According to the great Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, Youk** told reporters after the game that he only jammed his hip and expects to play in Friday’s series opener against the visiting Mariners. He initially got banged up in the first inning Thursday while trying to break up a double play and thought it wise to make a precautionary early exit.

“I just slid and it got a little locked up,” the third baseman said late Thursday. “As the game went on, it locked up a little bit more, but I should be good to play [Friday]. It was bugging me, and Tito said, ‘Give it a rest so you can play tomorrow.’ “

Youkilis, 32, is sporting a team-best .869 OPS through 94 plate appearances this season. If the Red Sox want to play it safe, they can start Jed Lowrie at the hot corner Friday and Marco Scutaro at shortstop.

*A dumb and unoriginal nickname
**A dumb and unoriginal nickname

Source: Aaron Judge, Yankees reach $360M, 9-year deal

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a $360 million, nine-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday because the deal had not been announced.

Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.

Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.

The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.

Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.

New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.

A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.