What to make of Yankees scratching Aaron Judge from lineup 2 days before trade deadline

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s trade-deadline week, so any Yankees player being pulled from a lineup 40 minutes before the first pitch sounds off alarms.

Times that by 1,000 with All-Star right fielder Aaron Judge being scratched from Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays and the Yankees offering no explanation.

“This does not involve a trade,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted.

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Judge just returned from the COVID injured list on Tuesday night and was 1-for-4 with a single and seemingly harmless ninth inning hit by pitch on an 80-mph slider that bounced off his backside. He did not take batting practice on the field before Wednesday’s game.

The Yankees trading Judge would be an all-time shocker, but he can file for free agency after the 2022 season.

Judge leads the Yankees with 21 homers and 47 RBI and carries a .282 batting average that is best among regulars.

The trade deadline is Friday at 4 p.m., EST. The Yankees are expected to be buyers, but were sellers Tuesday night dealing relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named.

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Randy Miller may be reached at rmiller@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RandyJMiller. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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