Aaron Judge set to make Yankees lineup comeback on Saturday

John Allen
Thursday March 14, 2024

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The Yankees are expecting Aaron Judge to rejoin the lineup on Saturday. Manager Aaron Boone expressed optimism that Judge will be back in center field when the Yankees face the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field.

But uncertainty looms over Gerrit Cole‘s status as the Yankees’ ace pitcher undergoes further evaluation for his right elbow problem. As of now, no definitive timeline has been provided for his return to the mound.

Although Aaron Judge hasn’t swung a bat since Sunday due to abdominal discomfort, an MRI scan conducted on Monday revealed no underlying issues. Both Aaron Judge and Boone confirmed that the scan showed a clean bill of health.

Yankees monitoring Aaron Judge’s abdominal tightness


Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees’ star slugger, has experienced a minor disruption in his spring training due to abdominal tightness.

Both Aaron Judge and manager Aaron Boone explained that the sli=ugger’s early exit from Sunday’s game, while other players continued to play, was a planned precautionary measure.

This concern extended into Monday’s doubleheader, with Aaron Judge missing both lineups as a result of feeling generally worn down in the middle of spring training – a condition Boone referred to as “mid-spring beat-up.” This prompted the team to conduct precautionary core testing on the Yankees captain.

Despite this setback, Aaron Judge remains optimistic about his condition. He intended to resume swinging later in the week and participated in outfield drills on Tuesday. However, he was absent from outfield drills on Wednesday. Manager Boone clarified that this absence was not a setback, but rather a planned change in the slugger’s training schedule. Instead of participating in drills, the captain chose to focus on a workout session and receive treatment.

Overall, the Yankees are adopting a cautious approach to managing Aaron Judge’s tightness, with the goal of preventing it from escalating into a more significant issue as the regular season approaches.

Judge sets sight on Opening Day despite limited at-bats


During his comments on Tuesday, Aaron Judge expressed optimism about his readiness for the Opening Day matchup against the Houston Astros on March 28th, while acknowledging the time remaining until then. He used the phrase “pretty sure” to convey his confidence in being prepared for the game.

Aaron Judge acknowledged that his typical spring training routine involves getting around 30 at-bats before feeling fully prepared for the season. However, with only 16 plate appearances across six Grapefruit League games so far, he is open to getting additional work against pitching machines if necessary to make up for the shortfall.

Manager Aaron Boone remained cautious about Aaron Judge’s immediate return to hitting in live games. Interestingly, Boone suggested that there is a possibility of him playing in Saturday’s game even without a significant increase in at-bats beforehand. This indicates that the Yankees may be willing to be flexible with his spring training workload in order to provide him with some game experience before Opening Day.

Yankees adjust rotation, Loaisiga nears debut

Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt is with teammate Nestor Cortes during a practice session at Yankee Stadium in 2022.
Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees are making adjustments to their pitching rotation for the remainder of spring training.

Clarke Schmidt will be taking over the spot previously occupied by Nestor Cortes. Schmidt’s start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday will allow him to pitch on a regular five-day rest schedule, which is similar to the approach used during the regular season.

Cortes, who is in the process of recovering from offseason rotator cuff issues, will continue to follow his current program, which involves pitching every sixth day.

In terms of relief pitching, right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday. He has been participating in live batting practice sessions to prepare for his first game appearance.


There was a minor mix-up during Tuesday’s game when Oswaldo Cabrera wore jersey number 33 instead of his usual number 95. This was simply an error on Cabrera’s part, as he had brought the wrong jersey for the road game.

The Yankees also made some roster adjustments by reassigning right-handed pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. and infielder Josh VanMeter to the minor league camp.

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