New York Yankees star and super early AL MVP candidate Aaron Judge does not have a fracture in his left hand after being hit by a pitch in Tuesday night's series-opening win against the Baltimore Orioles (NYY 4, BAL 2), he confirmed after the game. Judge exited the game one inning after the hit-by-pitch. Nevertheless, Judge was not present in New York's starting lineup for Wednesday's game and manager Aaron Boone described him as being day-to-day.

"Feeling better. Feeling better after we got some good news," Judge said after Tuesday's game. "X-rays, CT scans came back negative. We're in a good spot. A big relief. Being hit there before a couple years ago and breaking the wrist (in 2018), you don't know what's going to happen. Finding out that it's not fractured, it's not broken, is definitely a sigh of relief."

Here is the pitch -- a 94.1 mph fastball from Albert Suárez -- that hit Judge on the bottom of the hand rather than flush on top. He stayed in to run the bases and played the field in the next half-inning, then Trent Grisham pinch-hit for him the inning after that. Judge was clearly in pain and upset after being hit:

In 2018, Judge missed close to two months with a small fracture in his right wrist after being hit by a pitch. That errant pitch was more of a direct hit, though Judge is unfortunately familiar with injuries that are the result of being hit by a pitch.  

Needless to say, losing Judge to a fracture would have been a devastating blow to a Yankees team that has MLB's best record. Judge is again playing at an MVP level: .302/.428/.687 while leading the league in doubles (22), home runs (26), RBI (64), total bases (181), and WAR (5.0). That's after a slow start to the season too.

The Yankees have lost several top outfield prospects to injury recently. Jasson Domínguez completed his rehab from Tommy John surgery, then suffered an oblique injury on a swing this past weekend. The Yankees are awaiting test results to determine the severity. Everson Pereira, who had a stint with the Yankees last year, had season-ending elbow surgery earlier this month.

If Judge misses more time, even only a few days, the Yankees will slot Grisham into center field and let the two-time Gold Glover catch everything hit his way. The larger issue is losing Judge's bat, which is irreplaceable. The Yankees would still have Juan Soto, of course, but Soto and Judge are a powerhouse duo.

Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo suffered a broken bone in his right arm on a collision at first base this past Sunday. He will miss eight weeks or so. New York will welcome Gerrit Cole back to the rotation Wednesday, but Rizzo now is down. At least Judge escaped serious injury.. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost superstar Mookie Betts to a broken bone in his hand when he was hit by a pitch this past weekend. He's expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Tuesday's win improved the Yankees to 51-24 and dropped the Orioles to 47-25. They are 2.5 games behind New York in the AL East.