For a second straight game, Aaron Judge was used as the Yankees’ designated hitter, with both Judge and Aaron Boone admitting he’s “banged up” heading into Thursday’s day off.
Judge was healthy enough to enter Wednesday with four hits in his previous seven at-bats, including a double, a home run and four RBIs. He went hitless in Wednesday’s 7-3 win over the Rangers, but scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the sixth.
“It’s September,’’ Judge said of what was bothering him physically. “Everybody’s banged up.”
He added it was unrelated to the lower-body and side soreness that bothered him early in the season.
“We’ll try to preserve him as best we can, while we need him in the lineup,” Boone said.
With no margin for error left for the Yankees to reach the postseason, they can’t afford to lose Judge, which is why Boone said he opted to give him another DH day, using Joey Gallo in left field, Brett Gardner in center and Giancarlo Stanton in right.
The Yankees also put Luke Voit back in the lineup at first base, with Anthony Rizzo given the day off from starting. Voit hadn’t played in the two previous games and had a miserable night, going hitless with an error and a misplay. Rizzo entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh.
Voit said he would wear shoes to honor his brother John, who is in the Army and recently returned to the U.S. from Kabul and is at Fort Drum in upstate New York. The two have not seen each other since John Voit has come back from his deployment.
Gerrit Cole will start Friday in Boston and is set to also start next week in Toronto. If the Yankees need to win one of the games in the final weekend against the Rays, Cole could come back on short rest, which would take him out of the wild-card game.
“I’m here to do whatever Aaron [Boone] wants,’’ Cole said Wednesday regarding his schedule.
In Cole’s previous start, on Sunday, he allowed seven runs in 5 ²/₃ innings against Cleveland. And he gave up three runs in five innings in his last outing at Fenway Park, on July 23.
Yankees relievers Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman threw 4 ²/₃ scoreless innings Wednesday.