Aaron Judge slows down rehab, eyes regular season return

Aaron Judge, player of the New York Yankees

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Aaron Judge’s availability remains unclear as he persists in a cautious approach while managing abdominal discomfort. The outfielder, limited to light fielding drills, has yet to swing a bat, casting doubt on when he might rejoin Grapefruit League action.

Aaron Judge cautious after clean MRI

Aaron Judge, player of the New York Yankees
USA TODAY

Since Aaron Judge‘s last appearance against the Braves, where he struck out twice, the Yankees’ captain underwent an MRI on his abdomen, which returned clean results. Despite this, the Yankees and Judge are exercising extreme caution, given his injury history.

Despite the abdominal issue, Aaron Judge said his previously injured right big toe is fully healed, and he feels no urgency to hurry back, emphasizing his priority is being 100% ready for Opening Day on March 28.

“I think he knows, with the stuff he’s got going on, it’s better to miss the time now than in July and August. It’s just about us being smart and being out there when we need to… It’s about understanding these games in spring don’t matter. What matters is the regular season.”

Aaron Judge uncertain for batting practice this weekend

Despite manager Aaron Boone expressing anticipation for Judge to swing on Friday, Judge himself indicated that such plans hadn’t been finalized as he prioritizes a cautious approach to his recovery. “I’ll take it day-to-day,” Judge stated, emphasizing the need to proceed with care.

Boone affirmed to the NY POST that if Aaron Judge doesn’t bat on Friday, he won’t feature in Saturday’s Grapefruit League game between the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays.

The decision to proceed slowly aligns with a similar approach taken by Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., who recently returned after a two-week absence due to knee discomfort. Judge emphasized the importance of being strategic to avoid missing crucial time during the regular season.

Echoing Aaron Judge’s sentiments, hitting coach James Rowson emphasized the team’s commitment to ensuring Judge’s full recovery, highlighting positive signs in his rehabilitation process. Rowson also expressed confidence that Judge’s anticipated 30 at-bats during spring training would be adequate preparation for the regular season.

Even before his recent setback, Aaron Judge had faced challenges at the plate, enduring a string of hitless at-bats following an initial promising performance in the spring. However, Rowson downplayed concerns, attributing the struggles to the experimental nature of spring training where players often focus on refining specific aspects of their game.

Despite the uncertainties surrounding Aaron Judge’s return, both he and the team remain optimistic about his eventual comeback, prioritizing his long-term health and readiness for the regular season over immediate performance in spring training games.

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