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Ask Pinstripe Alley 4/12/16: Aaron Judge, Starlin Castro, Chase Headley, and Nick Swisher

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I have commandeered Andrew's Ask Pinstripe Alley mailbag in order to answer your questions a few days early. We received a few good questions for our call for questions, so here are my answers.

LancasterBomber asked when we will see Aaron Judge this year?

Aaron Judge doesn't have much room to make an impact on the major league team as it is currently configured. The team already has Aaron Hicks and Dustin Ackley capable of playing all three outfield positions, and Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, and Ben Gamel are all better candidates to fill in if someone were to get hurt. Right now, Judge needs to focus on figuring out how to hit an offspeed pitch because that could prove his undoing.

That being said, Judge will be Rule 5 eligible after the 2016 season and will need to be added to the 40-man roster before then. He's easily a candidate to get some playing time in September, but if he's absolutely crushing the ball and there's space on the roster, Judge could force his way up in the second half. Still, a lot of things will have to go right for him to get any substantial playing time in 2016. Once Carlos Beltran leaves it's a different story.

Kwayne29 asked Why is Stalin Castro batting so far down in the batting order?

Castro has primarily batted second in the lineup throughout his career, but considering his struggles last season, it's not surprising the Yankees would bat him lower in the order while Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner hit at the top. Letting the new guy hit lower in the lineup is a common way to get him acclimated to his new environment. Keep him out of the spotlight, avoid the high-leverage situations to begin the year, and if he responds you can move him up.

To be fair, the Yankees have only played five games, three of which he hit eighth, one where he hit seventh, and one where he hit third. Castro is currently responding to his new environment, but things could change. If he continues to hit going forward and those above him begin to lag behind, he could make his way up the batting order–especially against left-handed pitching.

AJSMind asked at what point do the Yankees address Chase Headley's lack of production?

It's still too early in his contract to start looking for alternatives to Chase Headley at third base. He's signed for another two seasons after 2016, and at only $13 million per year, it's not the albatross many believe it to be. Make no mistake, Headley has been a disappointment and his slow start doesn't help matters, but there is still plenty of time to see how he bounces back from a poor 2015 season.

Right now, the only alternative on the roster is Ronald Torreyes, who has gotten off to a good start, but he probably isn't a candidate to take on a full-time job. Rob Refsnyder was also clearly not ready to play a real game at third base, and who knows if he ever will be. The Yankees gave up on Eric Jagielo when they traded him to the Reds for Aroldis Chapman, and there's very little chance that they add payroll after spending exactly zero dollars on free agents in the offseason. It would seem that they're committed to Headley at this point. All we can do at this point is hope he improves.

Last year he was just below league average, so if he can can be just a little better with the bat and remember how to throw the baseball, he actually won't be that bad. Of course, that's not the way any fan wants to talk about their starting third baseman.

BigDanz2000 asked when will the Yankees bring up Nick Swisher?

Right now the plan for Swisher is to get him some at-bats at the Yankees Tampa complex in extended spring training before sending him to play in Triple-A. At this point in his career, a 35-year-old Swisher with two surgically repaired knees is not the same player we all knew and loved. His time in the outfield is likely coming to an end, so he's considered a backup to a backup at this point. Dustin Ackley is the primary backup first baseman at the major league level, and without something unforeseen happening, Swisher has no place on the roster.

The Yankees picked Swisher up for the league minimum in order to have an alternative to Chris Parmelee. He has a June 15th opt out date in his deal, so if anything is going to happen, it will happen by then. Swisher hasn't done much since 2013, but if the Yankees think he's finally healthy this year, he could be worth the time if Mark Teixeira or Dustin Ackley get hurt.