DL stint likely signals end of Judge's year

Yankees rookie has right oblique strain; Outfielder Williams recalled from Triple-A

DL stint likely signals end of Judge's year

NEW YORK -- The wince that Aaron Judge displayed after a mighty cut on Tuesday may have accompanied one of his final swings of his first year in the big leagues, as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the rookie is considered likely to miss the rest of the regular season. The club announced after Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Dodgers that Judge is being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 2 right oblique strain.

Before the Yanks announced Judge was going on the DL, Cashman said the injury Judge sustained in Tuesday's 3-0 victory over the Dodgers is expected to put the 24-year-old on the shelf for the remainder of the Yanks' playoff push.

"These things usually take a while, so we'll get a better feel for it, but [returning in the] regular season -- I don't see how that's possible," Cashman said.

Cashman said it is possible Judge could return if the Yankees have a deep postseason run. For the moment, outfielder Mason Williams was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to Wednesday's game against the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium.

Williams projects as an extra bat off the bench, with additional playing time on deck for Tyler Austin and Rob Refsnyder.

"You can look at a platoon situation. There's a lot of different things you can do with Mason," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's a very good outfielder as well. He's been playing pretty well in Triple-A, so he was the next guy in line."

The Yankees' No. 4 prospect, Judge displayed mammoth power during his first 27 games in pinstripes, but also an alarming propensity to whiff. He hit his fourth home run on Monday -- a projected 436-foot blast to left field that cleared the visiting bullpen and came off the bat at 115.2 mph, according to Statcast™.

Statcast: Judge's 436-ft. homer

"Actually, I thought he was starting to swing the bat better," Girardi said. "It's unfortunate that he had this happen. I think his at-bats had been better the last few days. He's had his ups and downs, but I think he's done a pretty good job."

Judge struck out in 42 of his 84 at-bats, batting .179 with two doubles and 10 RBIs. He was playing regularly in right field, but the Yankees have said that might not have been the case if Aaron Hicks hadn't been mending a left hamstring injury.

"Obviously, he's struggled with the strikeouts, but part of the process was to get him up here and get these growing pains out of the way, to speed up the adjustment process," Cashman said. "We saw that take place last year with him at Triple-A in the second half. I'd be concerned more if this year he came back and those struggles continued at Triple-A. They didn't."

Cashman said the Yankees expected to endure some growing pains with Judge and that he is not necessarily guaranteed a spot on next year's Opening Day roster.

"He'll have to earn his way on like everybody next year. There are no absolutes," Cashman said. "But I think without question he'll be better for the experience here at the end of 2016 as he competes into 2017."

Worth noting

• Girardi said Judge's injury does not accelerate the Yankees' timetable on Hicks, who will travel to the team's complex in Tampa, Fla., this weekend and could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

• Williams said the Yankees' games have been must-see TV in the Triple-A clubhouse, where the RailRiders are simultaneously battling Gwinnett in the Governors' Cup Championship Series and rooting for teammates who are trying to help the big league club reach the playoffs.

"We stand in front of the TV, and watch and yell and scream," Williams said. "We're all usually still in full uniform, watching the game."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.