TAMPA — Just two batters into the exhibition season, Toronto’s Marcus Semien hit a ball to shallow right field.
Aaron Judge raced in and briefly looked like he was going to attempt a diving catch and most of the 2,637 fans at George M. Steinbrenner Field likely cringed at the thought of the right fielder crashing to the turf so soon into spring training, given his injury history.
Judge, though, smartly pulled up and let the ball fall in for a single and the Yankees survived their first game of the spring — seemingly — with no health issues.
While that might seem like a simple task, it hasn’t been for the Yankees in recent years. And so much of what they want to do this season is tied to keeping players like Judge on the field.
So consider Sunday’s 6-4 loss in seven innings to the Blue Jays a success.
Because if the Yankees end up going where they intend, they’ve got a long way to get there.
It’s why Judge — who missed all of last spring training with a fractured rib suffered the previous season on a similar play to the one he didn’t attempt Sunday — isn’t in a rush to get too much game action.