Aaron Judge injury update: ‘Can’t promise’ on return but hopeful of making it

Yankees captain Aaron Judge at Yankee Stadium on June 1, 2023.

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The Yankees are without Aaron Judge for 18 games and their underperforming offense wants its leader to be back soon. However, the power hitter “can’t promise” when he is going to return though expects to join the Yankees lineup this season.

Aaron Judge told Jon Heyman of the New York Post, “I expect to be back. I’m going to do everything I can to put myself in that position.” However, when asked about the timeline, he said, “I can’t make any promises; I wish I had an answer… I’ve got no answers. I’m trying to figure stuff out and get through this thing.”

The Yankees captain suffered a torn ligament in his right big toe when he collided with a wall at Dodgers Stadium while making an impressive catch on June 3. As a result of the injury, Aaron Judge continues to experience pain when walking.

Aaron Boone, the Yankees’ manager, has not provided a timeline for Aaron Judge’s recovery. Heyman claims that the power hitter himself admitted that he couldn’t provide any assurances regarding his recovery. He expressed his wish for having answers but acknowledged his current lack of clarity.

Aaron Judge is still actively working on understanding the situation and finding a way to overcome it.

Aaron Judge’s return remains a mystery

The specific date of Aaron Judge’s return is still uncertain and seemingly impossible to estimate accurately. Right from the player himself to the Yankees team brass and his teammates, everyone is maintaining a mysterious ambiance. There is only speculation without any definite answer.

However, before the Yankees’ consecutive impressive victories, including a 5-3 triumph over the formidable Texas Rangers, who currently lead the AL West and are undoubtedly a strong team, Aaron Judge provided clarification on certain matters.

Among the topics Aaron Judge addressed were the distinction between a sprain and a tear, which he noted to be quite minimal, and his general optimism regarding his comeback. While the latter aspect was expected, given his determination and commitment, it was necessary to inquire about it following the recent headlines surrounding Manager Aaron Boone’s cautious remarks on Saturday, where he refrained from providing absolute assurance of Aaron Judge’s return within this season.

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees
Barry/ Twitter

According to The Post, Judge confidently stated that his return is expected and that he is determined to do everything within his power to ensure he can make a comeback.

“I just feel bad. You guys are looking for answers. That’s your job. You’re reporting. I’ve got no answers. I’m trying to figure stuff out and get through this thing.”

Boone acknowledged that Aaron Judge’s return is highly anticipated; however, there is still no clarity on the specific timing of his comeback.

But the slugger mentioned that he could not provide any guarantees regarding a specific date for his return. He expressed a wish for an answer but admitted that he did not possess one. Aaron Judge emphasized that his current focus on trying to understand and navigate through the situation.

Yankees offense suffers without Judge

Even though the Yankees have a roster filled with talented players, their performance at the plate suffers greatly in the absence of Aaron Judge. Except for Anthony Rizzo and Harrison Bader, who delivered the game-winning hit on Sunday in front of a packed crowd at Yankee Stadium, most of the other star players seemed to enter a prolonged slump all at once. This decline coincided with the moment Aaron Judge collided with the concrete base at Dodger Stadium, leading to his placement on the injured list for an unknown duration.

According to reports, Aaron Judge prefers to avoid speculations when it comes to his return, especially considering the lack of precision from doctors. However, there is one member of the Yankees organization who dared to offer an estimation. Though it may carry limited significance, that individual speculated that Judge could potentially make his comeback approximately one or two weeks following the All-Star break.

If Aaron Judge were to return a week or two after the All-Star break, as predicted, it would amount to a total of six or seven weeks lost due to the injury. However, considering that he is still experiencing discomfort and is not prepared for baseball-related activities, that estimation could be seen as overly optimistic. 

It appears that a sense of wishful thinking has permeated their clubhouse recently, evident in lineups featuring batters with batting averages below .200 occupying the third or fourth spot.

Yankees captain Aaron Judge busted the bullpen door at Dodger Stadium while making a spectacular catch on June 3, 2023.

Judge tried to stem rumors

In contrast to the excessively optimistic atmosphere surrounding his team, Aaron Judge appears to be the voice of reason. He took a moment to shed light on the challenges of determining his return date, which is commendable considering the frustration and distress he must be feeling as a defending MVP and team captain who is eager to compete and achieve victory. It is this unwavering determination that brought him to his current position.

Aaron Judge explained that the difficulty lies in the fact that people often compare his injury to turf toe in the NFL, which typically requires a recovery period of six to eight weeks. However, he emphasized that his injury is different, as it affects the side of the ligament rather than underneath it. Therefore, the uncertainty surrounding his return remains.

As we wait for Aaron Judge’s return, we are gaining some medical knowledge. Despite the attention it received, Judge referring to his injury as a tear on Saturday does not indicate a change in the initial diagnosis of a sprained right great toe. The term used may have generated headlines, but the underlying condition remains the same.

Regardless of whether it is labeled a sprain or tear, the Yankees face a significant challenge. Despite their improvement to a 4-2 record on the homestand and an 8-10 record since Judge’s absence, it is surprising to see their offensive performance ranking near the bottom in various key categories during this period.

Judge’s importance to the Yankees is undeniable, to the extent that his condition takes precedence over on-field happenings, even when they secure a late victory against a formidable team like the Rangers. This particular win was particularly gratifying, with struggling stars Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu delivering significant hits. It sets a positive tone for their upcoming extensive trip to Oakland, where, despite any limitations, they should still anticipate winning additional games.

Harrison Bader expressed his admiration for Stanton and LeMahieu, referring to them as the team’s big dogs. He emphasized the satisfaction derived from witnessing their adjustment and the positive outcomes they achieved, highlighting the benefits it brings both to them individually and to the team as a whole.

An additional desire expressed by Bader was for the quick and complete recovery of their key player, emphasizing the importance of his return to the team’s success.

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