NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Aaron Judge sat out of Friday’s game against the Rays, giving him a third straight day off after missing the finale of the Baltimore series and travelling on the off day Thursday. Judge is being held out by Aaron Boone’s discretion, and while the slugging right fielder has taken reps in the cage and received treatment from the team’s medical staff, he hasn’t undergone any tests. This is the latest saga in mystery medical concerns with Judge, and I’m sure we would all like some clarity on it at this point, but it doesn’t look like it’s coming just yet.
NY Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Gio Urshela was a late scratch from the lineup yesterday, but fortunately it wasn’t injury related. The third baseman was dealing with side effects from taking the COVID-19 vaccine recently, and after entering the ballpark feeling fine needed to sit out right before game time. The Yankees placed him on the COVID IL and called up Mike Ford from the taxi squad when Urshela was ruled out, but returned him to the alternate site following the game. Whether this means Urshela will be good to go for Saturday, we’ll have to wait and see — unlike the regular IL, Urshela can be activated at any time.
FanGraphs | Justin Choi: Lost in the festivities of the new season beginning are the underlying results from the new baseballs that MLB is using this year. It’s still early, but the data coming out on home run rates has shown some surprising details — namely, that during spring training it appeared that the new balls were actually being hit out more often than in previous years, but so far that trend hasn’t carried over to the regular season. There’s a wide variety of reasons for this, and some suggest that we may not see the decline in home runs that were expected just yet. Give it a read, there’s a lot to dig into here.
FanGraphs | Devan Fink: Also in the general league-wide news, fastball velocities are on the rise. A large population of pitchers have seen increased velo on their heaters compared to last year, which makes sense to a degree given the conditions that pitchers had to start up their seasons last year. Even accounting for that, the jump for many pitchers has been significant, and the numbers are still up compared to 2019 as well. This will be something to follow through the month as pitchers settle in and perhaps put up historic velocity.