Trent Grisham [600x600]
Trent Grisham [600x600] (Credit: AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

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NEW YORK -- Trent Grisham was in the New York Yankees' lineup for their Sunday night showdown against the Los Angeles Dodgers because Juan Soto remained out with forearm inflammation. He was batting fifth, despite an .083 batting average, because manager Aaron Boone wanted a left-handed bat in the middle of the order and valued Grisham's ability to punish fastballs with the hard-throwing Tyler Glasnow on the mound.

Yankees fans didn't care for any of that, making their thoughts clear in the sixth inning with a pointed "We want Soto!" chant during Grisham's third plate appearance. Moments later, Grisham flipped those feelings, launching a fastball from Glasnow into the right-field seats for a go-ahead, three-run home run.

In response, some fans reversed course the next time Grisham stepped into the batter's box with a different, tongue-in-cheek chant: "We want Grisham!"

But Yankees captain Aaron Judge said he wasn't a fan of the initial treatment of Grisham and defended his teammate after New York's 6-4 win.

"I wasn't too happy with it," Judge said. "But I think he made a good point, got his point across there with that homer."

Grisham said it "wasn't about" sending a message with that home run, though he admitted he liked the chant he heard in the following at-bat.

The home run, which proved the difference in the Yankees avoiding a three-game sweep, was Grisham's fifth hit of the season. Three have been home runs. The 27-year-old center fielder now is batting .100 with a .538 OPS in 25 games as the Yankees' fourth outfielder. He's started just 18 of the club's 67 games. This weekend was just the second time he's started three consecutive games this season.

"He's just been a really good teammate through all this," Boone said. "Been ready. He's accepted his role and here he's got a little bit of an opportunity this week and taking advantage of it."

The reduced role has been a steep transition for Grisham, who spent the previous four seasons as the San Diego Padres' everyday center fielder before the Yankees acquired him and Soto together in a trade in December.

"Just riding and being patient throughout the process and then just knowing that there's going to be spurts like this in the season where I'm going to be able to play a few days in a row," Grisham said.

Whether Grisham plays four days in a row depends on Soto's availability Monday against the Kansas City Royals. Boone said Soto went through his typical pregame routine Sunday, taking swings for the first time since being diagnosed with forearm inflammation Friday. But Soto, according to Boone, "probably" wasn't an option to come off the bench.

Soto's status Monday will depend on how the arm feels. The Yankees will welcome the MVP candidate with open arms whenever he's ready. On Sunday, though, Grisham stepped up after drowning out the noise.

"Soto's going to heal up and be fine, but, man, Grish is a heck of a ballplayer," Judge said. "He showed up tonight in the big moment when we needed him."