Lucas Duda didn’t lose any time acclimating to American League competition this week. Following his trade to the Rays on Thursday, he recorded his first home run with Tampa Bay during his debut on Friday night, taking Masahiro Tanaka deep in the seventh inning for the team’s first and only run of their 7-1 loss. On Saturday, he did it again, crushing a 2-0 pitch from David Robertson into the second deck of Yankee Stadium to tie the game 4-4 in the eighth.
Duda entered Saturday with a modest .247/.347/.541 batting line, 18 home runs and an .888 OPS through 294 PA. He’s made a good-faith effort to return to a starting role after getting sidelined with a lower back stress fracture last year, though he has yet to match the 27-homer, .250-average output of previous seasons. Following his blast off of Robertson, Duda’s 19 home runs rank third-most among Rays’ players, tied with Corey Dickerson and trailing only Logan Morrison (26 HR) and Steven Souza Jr. (21 HR).
Duda went 1-for-1 on Saturday with a home run, two walks and a sac fly. The Rays couldn’t capitalize on his knock in the eighth, however, and remain tied 4-4 with the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth.
NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.
The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.
“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.
Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.
Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.
“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”
Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.
The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.
The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.
Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.