ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The sight of their two best hitters colliding in foul territory chasing an eighth-inning foul ball sent a jolt of anxiety through the Yankees’ dugout Friday night.
And when Starlin Castro and Aaron Judge didn’t immediately get up after Judge banged into Castro and dislodged an out, hearts fluttered.
Eventually, the second baseman and right fielder got up and remained in the game, an eventual 5-4 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.
“Nobody called it.” said Judge, whose head and shoulder collided with Castro’s trunk. “It’s a tough play in a dome because you can’t take your eyes off the ball and we ran into each other. He said he was all right and I am good. I got hit harder in football, so I am good.’’
Manager Joe Girardi was in South Florida to attend his daughter Serena’s high school graduation, so bench coach Rob Thomson managed the Yankees.
“I enjoy the fact that it gives Joe an opportunity to be with his daughter,’’ said Thomson, who filled in for Girardi for three games in 2008 and went 1-2. “That’s a big thing for a young girl and her father to be together.’’
The ultra-organized Girardi planned for Friday with Thomson during spring training. Thomson and Girardi then discussed the lineup on the flight from Kansas City to Tampa early Friday morning, but once the game started, Thomson wasn’t going to interrupt Girardi’s evening. Asked if there were a scenario that could arise that would cause Thomson to text Girardi, the bench coach said that wouldn’t happen.
“I wouldn’t because he is at his daughter’s graduation,’’ Thomson said. “We have a responsibility here and to do a job for him.’’
Chase Headley’s bat might be ill, but Thomson said a physical problem wasn’t the reason the switch-hitting third baseman wasn’t in the lineup against Rays right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.
“Just a regular day off,’’ Thomson said of resting Headley, who was in a 4-for-40 (.100)…