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Yankees’ Aaron Judge suffers chip fracture in right wrist

Judge won’t need surgery, but this is a major hit to the Yankees’ hopes of winning the AL East.

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge will miss at least three weeks — and likely more time as he works his way back into playing shape — after suffering a chip fracture in his right wrist, as the team announced following Thursday night’s win over the Royals:

Judge, who was serving as the Yankees’ DH on Thursday night, was hit by a pitch from Kansas City starter Jakob Junis in the first inning. He stayed in the game to run and later took another at-bat — he singled in the third — but Miguel Andujar pinch-hit for him in the fourth.

Seeing as Judge won’t need surgery, it’s obviously not a worst-case scenario, but it’s also not a great development for a team that has been neck-and-neck with the Red Sox for AL East supremacy all season long. The Yankees, who have the third-best record in the majors at 65-36, currently sit 4.5 games behind Boston for first place in the division.

Judge, 26, leads the team with a .946 OPS and appeared in his second straight All-Star game earlier this month. He also has a team-best 26 homers and 61 RBI, and he has 13 defensive runs saved in right field, a total that ranks best among major-leaguers at the position.

The most logical move for the Yankees would be to use Giancarlo Stanton as their primary right fielder in Judge’s absence. With Billy McKinney included in Thursday’s trade for J.A. Happ and Clint Frazier currently being on the concussion DL, Shane Robinson is the only other healthy full-time outfielder on the team’s 40-man roster beyond Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Brett Gardner. Tyler Austin, Tyler Wade, and Ronald Torreyes, all of whom were on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster but have since been sent to the minors, have seen action in the outfield since being demoted and could serve as depth options if recalled.