New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge has been fighting through a slump, but he still managed to attract the spotlight in a surprising scene following Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yankees had just pulled off a dramatic comeback. Trailing 5-3 after seven innings, they managed to scratch across a pair of runs in the eighth and ninth to force extras. Then, left fielder Brett Gardner went yard on Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge in the bottom of the 11th, giving the Bronx Bombers their third walk-off home run of the season.
Judge was among the players to mob Gardner in a home plate celebration. That’s when the right fielder suffered one of the strangest injuries of his career: a broken tooth, caused by a stray batting helmet that hit him in the mouth.
Take a look:
You can tell by Judge’s reaction that the helmet got him pretty good. He immediately grabbed his mouth and was the first Yankee to exit the field, though he is expected to be ready for Friday’s game against the Rays.
ESPN’s Andrew Marchand reported that the strange injury was a major talking point in the Yankees clubhouse after the game. Several players, including Clint Frazier, Todd Frazier and Chase Headley, repeatedly watched footage of the incident in an effort to find the culprit behind the flying helmet. Still, the consensus is that the 25-year-old slugger will make a full recovery.
“He’s too big to get hurt by something like that,” said Gardner. “I think he’ll be all right. I guess my helmet hit him a little bit in the mouth, in the face. It wasn’t my fault. I threw it on the ground, and then I think he had it in his hand and somebody bumped into him and it hit him in the face.”
Eddie Fastook, the Yankees’ head of security, was seen searching for the tooth around home plate into the wee hours of Friday morning, per Marchand.