Aaron Judge rules out LeMahieu-like toe injury, but no fixed return timeframe

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees
John Allen
Friday June 9, 2023

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As Yankees fans remained anxious and tense over the toe injury sustained by Aaron Judge, the slugger came out on Thursday to assure fans that he won’t have a fate like DJ LeMahieu. However, during his media interaction at Yankee Stadium, Aaron Judge informed reporters that he was unable to provide a specific timeline for his comeback.

On June 3, Aaron Judge sustained a sprained right toe while making a remarkable catch against the Los Angeles Dodgers, forcefully colliding with a right field gate. Aaron Judge told reporters that his current condition was not ideal to be out on the field though he felt better than before.

Aaron Judge tries to remove the uncertainty

Aaron Judge acknowledged that there was currently no definitive timetable for his return. He explained that the medical team was taking a cautious approach due to multiple factors affecting his recovery. Rather than providing a specific timeline, the focus is on monitoring the progress of his injury. Once the discomfort subsides and the inflammation and swelling decrease, Aaron Judge would gradually resume activities such as walking and engaging in baseball-related movements. His priority at this stage was to allow sufficient time for the inflammation and swelling to diminish.

The power hitter ruled out any similarity between his toe injury and that of LeMahieu, who was sidelined for months last season and yet to find his full strength.

“I think they thought it might have been more in the bottom,” Aaron Judge said. “I know DJ dealt with some toe stuff last year, which was more on the bottom of his big toe. That leads into everything you do, pushing off, running, just even standing, putting weight on that ball of the foot. Being more on the side of the big toe, I think is a bigger relief than anything. It’s the best-case scenario.”

Medical examinations, including X-rays and an MRI, have revealed that Aaron Judge’s toe is not fractured. Instead, he has been diagnosed with a contusion and a sprain. In response to the incident, the Dodgers have decided to enhance the padding in the area known as the “Judge Zone” in their stadium, which is currently the third-oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball. Meanwhile, Aaron Judge underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection on Tuesday in New York to expedite the healing process.

The Yankees have refrained from specifying a definite timeline for Judge’s comeback following the injury to his right great toe during the remarkable catch he made in Los Angeles. Despite colliding with a concrete slab at full speed, Judge’s return remains uncertain.

Aaron Boone frustrated over Aaron Judge’s injury

Yankees manager Aaron Boone appeared slightly frustrated by the persistent inquiries regarding Aaron Judge’s injury status.

He acknowledged the lack of clarity regarding Aaron Judge’s timeline for return, explaining that they don’t have the specific details yet. He mentioned that Aaron Judge received a shot in his toe and they are awaiting further information to provide a more accurate timeline.

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

According to the Yankees manager, Aaron Judge is experiencing significant soreness after receiving the injection. The team has decided to postpone announcing a specific date for his return until after the upcoming series against the Red Sox.

Boone mentioned that the main focus was on reducing the swelling in Judge’s toe, and he anticipated that it will improve within the next few days. He expressed hope that a clearer timeline for Judge’s return could be determined, possibly by the upcoming weekend.

“We’re not going to know anything for a few days,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s sore from [his injection] and we’ve got to get swelling out of there. Hopefully in the coming days we’ll have a better idea of timetable. But right now, he’s hobbling around, especially from the shot he just got.”

Aaron Judge’s absence puts a challenge for the Yankees

The Yankees, with a record of 36-26, face a challenging situation as they currently trail the Tampa Bay Rays (46-19) by 8.5 games in the AL East. Additionally, they find themselves in a tie with the Houston Astros for the last wild-card position. This news further adds to the difficulties they are already facing this season.

While there is still a significant amount of baseball to be played, it is crucial for the Yankees to avoid a prolonged losing streak. The competition in the American League, particularly in the AL East, is fierce, and any significant slide in performance could have severe consequences for the team.

Before the injury, Aaron Judge, aged 31, had been putting up impressive numbers, leading the American League with 19 home runs, maintaining a batting average of .291, and contributing 40 RBIs and 42 runs. With a remarkable 1.078 OPS, he was a strong contender for a consecutive MVP award. However, a prolonged period on the injured list could potentially hinder Aaron Judge’s chances of securing the prestigious accolade.

In Aaron Judge’s absence, the Yankees’ offense lacks its usual firepower. Earlier in the season, he was sidelined for 10 games due to a right hip sprain, during which the team went 4-6. In the current injury spell, with Judge out, the Yankees have played two games and have a record of 1-1.

It’s expected that the Yankees would experience a decline in performance without the presence of baseball’s top slugger. However, until Aaron Judge’s toe shows signs of improvement, he will remain confined to the dugout.

There are indications that Aaron Judge’s absence from the team could extend for several weeks rather than just a few days. This possibility is raising concerns among the Yankees.

In his impressive performance last season, Aaron Judge participated in 157 games, surpassing Roger Maris’ longstanding record for most home runs in a single season in the American League. As a result of his exceptional performance, he secured a lucrative nine-year contract worth $360 million, solidifying his place as a long-term member of the Yankees.

The Yankees must plan to face it

Despite sitting out for a brief period from April 28 to May 8 due to a strained right hip, Aaron Judge continues to dominate the Major Leagues. Currently, he holds the highest slugging percentage (.674) and weighted runs created plus (wRC+) score (189) among all qualified players. In addition, he has been on a remarkable home run streak, smashing 13 homers in his last 19 games.

One noteworthy statistic stands out: the Yankees’ record this season is 30-19 when Aaron Judge is in the lineup, but it drops to 6-7 when he is absent, including their recent loss to the White Sox on Tuesday. This indicates the significant impact Aaron Judge has on the team’s performance and highlights his value to the Yankees’ success.

Josh Donaldson acknowledged the irreplaceable presence of Aaron Judge, emphasizing both his leadership and performance on the field. Donaldson stressed the importance of the team uniting and putting in a collective effort to compensate for Judge’s absence. He highlighted the need for solid defense, strong pitching, and a determined approach at the plate, with the ultimate goal of continuing to secure victories until Judge makes his return.

Remarkably, the Yankees have yet to field a lineup this season with Harrison Bader, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton all playing together. In the absence of Aaron Judge, players like Jake Bauers, Willie Calhoun, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and others stepped up and contributed in the outfield.

The Yankees face the challenge of winning without their captain. It’s a task they must accomplish.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Aaron Judge rules out LeMahieu-like toe injury, but no fixed return timeframe

  1. NYY has the potential to be great also w/o AJ however for a talent to shine, he needs confidence from his team manager, which translates to a steady set lineup role, and juggling as is happening.
    To bring out tje best of a playet, means trusting his talent. Heres my steady lineup for this time w/o Bader and AJ.
    1b Rizzo, 2b Torres, SS Perazzo, 3b JD, Lf Bauer , CF IKF, Rf & DH Stanton or DJ or Florial (worth a try).
    Forget OCan and WillieC there not trustworth enough.
    Florial and Perraza

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