Judge back from injury for Yanks, bats leadoff for 1st time

2 years 3 months 3 days ago Friday, June 21 2019 Jun 21, 2019 June 21, 2019 5:01 PM June 21, 2019 in Sports - AP - Texas

AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Aaron Judge is back in the New York Yankees' lineup and batting leadoff for the first time in his major league career.

After missing two months with a left oblique injury, Judge returned Friday night against Houston. Normally the team's No. 2 hitter, the 6-foot-7, 282-pound slugger was moved to the top spot as manager Aaron Boone toys with how best to arrange his power-packed batting order now that Edwin Encarnación has arrived and several Yankees stars are healed up.

Along with his prodigious power, Judge has a sharp eye at the plate. He batted leadoff in spring training 2018 as the Yankees explored the idea - but he'd never started there in a regular-season game until now.

Gary Sánchez, with 22 homers and 50 RBIs, hit second for New York ahead of lefty-swinging Didi Gregorius and cleanup man Giancarlo Stanton. Encarnación, leading the American League with 23 home runs, was fifth in front of lefty Brett Gardner, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela and Cameron Maybin.

Encarnación was acquired last weekend in a trade with Seattle.

Astros skipper AJ Hinch deadpanned that Judge is the largest leadoff hitter he'll ever manage against.

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