Put plainly: The Yankees are running out of centerfield options. Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks are on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain and strained right intercostal muscle, respectively, while manager Aaron Boone appears wary of making Brett Gardner play three straight games on turf as the club finishes off their series in Toronto this week. That leaves 25-year-old corner outfielder Judge, who has yet to play a single major league game at the position.
Judge isn’t totally unfamiliar with the position; as he told reporters Friday, he saw significant time in both center and left field during his college days. Professionally, he’s racked up just 11 total games in center, the last of which came during a three-game stint in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre during 2016. “I’m familiar with it all,” he said. “I’m primarily a center fielder, but I’ll stay in right or left, it doesn’t matter.”
It doesn’t look to be a permanent switch for the outfielder, however, just one that’s long enough to cover Hicks and Ellsbury’s absences. Rookie outfielder Billy McKinney was called up from Triple-A to provide some depth at the outfield corners, and Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade have also been mentioned as possible fallbacks. McKinney made his big league debut on Friday and contributed two defensive plays and his first career hit during the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Blue Jays.
Today the Angels introduced their newest big star, Anthony Rendon, who just signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to play in Orange County.
And it is Orange County, not Los Angeles, Rendon stressed at the press conference. When asked about the Dodgers, who had also been reported to be courting him, Rendon said he preferred the Angels because, “the Hollywood lifestyle . . . didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.”
What “the Hollywood Lifestyle” means in that context could mean a lot of things I suppose. It could be about the greater media scrutiny Dodgers players are under compared to Angels players. It could mean that he’d simply prefer to live in Newport Beach than, I dunno, wherever Dodgers players live. Pasadena? Pasadena is more convenient to Dodger Stadium than the beach. Who knows. They never did let Yasiel Puig get that helicopter he wanted, so traffic could’ve been a consideration.
But maybe it’s a subtle allusion to political/cultural stuff. Orange County has trended to the left in some recent elections but it is, historically speaking, a conservative stronghold in Southern California. And, based on something else he said in his press conference, Rendon seems to be pretty conscious of geographical/political matters:
A shoutout to the notion of Texas being Trump country and an askance glance at “the Hollywood Lifestyle” of Los Angeles all in the same press conference. That’s a lot of culture war ground covered in one press conference. So much so that I can’t decide if I should warn Rendon that both Texas and Orange County are trending leftward or if I should tell him to stick to sports.