NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Aaron Judge is all done with the tooth scary – at least for now.
The New York Yankees slugger was back in the starting lineup Friday night, a day after he accidentally lost half of his front left tooth during a home-plate celebration.
“I’m all good,” he said. “Got it fixed.”
The AL home run leader saw a dentist earlier in the day and got a temporary replacement. Later, he’ll go back for a permanent piece.
On Thursday night, Judge was jarred when Brett Gardner’s batting helmet accidentally popped him in the mouth. Gardner hit a winning home run in the bottom of the 11th inning and tossed his helmet as he approached the plate.
Judge picked up the helmet because he was worried someone might step on it and roll an ankle. Instead, he got hit by the helmet during all the jostling.
“Got me pretty good,” Judge said.
The 6-foot-7 Judge tried to scoot off the field without anyone noticing while the Yankees were still celebrating their 6-5 win.
No luck escaping without being spotted with a grimace. No luck, either, when a member of the team’s security staff went back on the field when it cleared, searching for the cracked tooth.
“Last night I had to sit there and stare at that all night,” he said.
Several of Judge’s teammates watched video after the game, trying to determine who caused the mishap. Clint Frazier was considered a possible culprit, but the tape cleared him.
Once they realized Judge was OK, many of the Yankees wanted a picture of the popular rookie.
“Lemme see, lemme see,” they pleaded.
Already gap-toothed before the accident, Judge didn’t feel much like documenting his new look. He said he took one picture of himself, which he put away for safekeeping – and managed to keep off social media.
The tale of his tooth, however, quickly hit Twitter and spread.
“Unbelievable,” he said. “It’s, whatever.”
Smiles usually come easy to Judge. When he met the media at his locker Friday, he greeted reporters with a thumbs-up, and a closed-mouth smile. He quickly loosened up.
“We’re all good,” he said.
Judge began the day batting .308 with 32 home runs and 73 RBIs for the playoff-contending Yankees. He was batting third and playing right field against the Rays.
Other players over the years have been hurt in wild celebrations at home, most notably Kendrys Morales of the Angels in 2010. Morales jumped onto the plate after a game-winning grand slam, wrecked his leg and ankle, and didn’t play again in the majors for nearly two years.
“Obviously we’re very relieved,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’m sure it was a somewhat of an uncomfortable night for him last night.”
“I’m sure the ribbing will continue for a number of days. This will not stop after today,” he said.
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