BALTIMORE — Aaron Judge’s day started when he tripped going down the Yankees’ dugout steps during batting practice — but luckily avoided injury.
That was the beginning of a long day for the Yankees right fielder, who went hitless in five at-bats, was caught stealing and struck out four times in a 8-4 win over the Orioles on Thursday.
Judge struck out looking in the seventh inning and reacted to the call by talking to plate umpire Ed Hickox with his head down toward the ground, à la Derek Jeter. Judge finished the day by striking out in the ninth with two on and no outs.
“Just had a couple of things to say and that’s it,’’ said Judge, who believed a 3-1 pitch in his prior at-bat had been ball four and went to toss his bat aside and move to first base but the pitch was called a strike. “You can’t argue too many times. Ask for a couple of things and move on.’’
Judge was caught attempting to steal second in the first inning after reaching on a fielder’s choice.
Gary Sanchez blocked pitches, threw out a runner who wandered off first base and hit his third homer or the season in the Yankees’ win.
All of that, especially the victory, overshadowed the catcher getting picked off second base in the eighth inning with the Yankees leading, 5-4, and runners on first and second and one out.
Sanchez has at least one hit in five of the six games he has played this season.
CC Sabathia is scheduled to start in a minor league game on Sunday and Boone said the veteran lefty will be in the 60-pitch range.
“He is getting close,’’ Boone said of Sabathia, who was suspended for the first five games and moved to the IL on Wednesday as he works back from a right knee operation done last fall and having a stent inserted into a blocked heart artery in December.
There is a possibility Sabathia could rejoin the rotation by next weekend when the Yankees open a three-game home series against the White Sox.
Reliever Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) is slated for a bullpen session on Friday, Boone said, with the next step facing live hitters.
“It seems to be going well for him, improving every time,’’ Boone said.
Asked if the Yankees need to see Betances throwing his fastball with more velocity than when he was shelved, Boone said: “We want it coming out a little bit better, a little bit hotter and listening to the player. Dellin will give us that feedback, too.’’
Boone said Luis Severino (inflamed right rotator cuff) was slated to long-toss at 120 feet on Thursday and that there is nothing imminent with Jacoby Ellsbury (hip surgery).
The Yankees added some potential depth for their bullpen Thursday, picking up right-hander Jake Barrett off waivers from the Pirates.
After he was signed to a minor league deal late in spring training, lefty Gio Gonzalez’s first outing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre wasn’t good. In four innings against Buffalo on Thursday, he gave up eight runs on eight hits and walked three.
Ben Heller, recovering from Tommy John surgery, was moved to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.