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.