Royals starter Jakob Junis received some unexpected messages on his social media accounts after unintentionally hitting Yankees slugger Aaron Judge with a pitch on Thursday night, according to The Athletic.
Judge was hit in the right wrist by Junis’s 93 mph four-seam fastball in the first inning. The outfielder came to the plate again in the third inning, reaching on an infield single. Judge was later removed in the fourth inning and taken to the hospital for an MRI.
Diagnosed with a chip fracture in his ulnar styloid bone, Judge will miss at least three weeks of playing time.
When Junis returned to the team’s hotel after Thursday’s game, he realized Judge was injured and his Twitter and Instagram accounts were blowing up with “angry” messages.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Junis told The Athletic. “But once it started happening, I was like, ‘Man, this is kind of crazy how many people are messaging me.’ But it is what it is, and hopefully it will blow over.”
Junis said he didn’t apologize after the game for hitting Judge because he thought the outfielder was fine when he returned for a second at-bat. The starter thought Judge was removed later from the game as a precaution.
“I think a lot of people took it the wrong way,” Junis said. “They think that I hit him on purpose, which was absolutely not the case. So, I think they were very upset, thinking that I did it intentionally. But it’s part of it, I guess. It’s not my place to comment back or do anything.”
In only his second season in the major leagues, Junis has a 5.06 ERA after the Royals 7-2 loss to the Yankees on Thursday.
Judge is hitting .285 with 26 home runs and 61 RBI this season. The Yankees (66-37) are sitting five and a half games behind the Red Sox (73-33) in the AL East. With Judge out for the next few weeks, the Yankees will need to fill the void left by him as they chase a playoff spot.