As the Yankees prepared for the second of their three-game set against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Saturday afternoon, several questions swirled the team. Was Aaron Judge actually healthy? Was Gio Urshela over his post-COVID vaccine symptoms? When would Rougned Odor join the team, and how would they make room for him on the roster? What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?
Well, after a minor bit of morning news, we now have the answers to all these questions:
- Judge is indeed back in the Yankees’ starting lineup. He had missed the last couple games with “soreness in his side,” but still took batting practice and was theoretically available to pinch-hit in an emergency, though he didn’t. Judge is a fan favorite, but sometimes these little injuries can snowball, so it’s good to see him back and ready to slug dingers. We can only hope that he stays healthy.
- Urshela has also returned after a day away due to side effects from the COVID vaccine that he took on Wednesday. The Yankees had called up Mike Ford to take his spot yesterday but optioned him after the game’s conclusion, leading to speculation that Urshela would probably be good to go today. Sure enough, he’s back at the hot corner.
- The Yankees had suggested that Odor would be activated during the Rays series once he’d cleared intake protocols. Like Urshela, he’s good to go, so in came Odor and out went infielder Tyler Wade. The Yankees will use Urshela as their emergency shortstop, and though Wade will technically be on the Triple-A Scranton roster, he’ll continue to travel with the team on the taxi squad (like Ford). How much Odor will actually help the team after a couple of rough seasons in Texas remains to be seen and it’s a bit of a gamble to have the inexperienced Urshela as the backup shortstop, but it’s probably worth a shot since all they’re losing in Wade is defensive depth (even if my Didi-loving self is grumbling about Odor donning No. 18). If something goes seriously wrong, then he’s a call away.