Aaron Judge’s first swing practice goes flawless, informs Yankees’ hitting coach

John Allen
Tuesday July 4, 2023

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Yankees superstar slugger Aaron Judge made his first swing practice following his toe injury without any pain. According to Yankees hitting coach Dillon Lawson, it went well and there was no sign of pain or missing anything.

Aaron Judge continues to make progress in his recovery from a sprained right toe that has kept him out of action since June 3. The outfielder has recently started taking swings off a tee, marking another positive step toward his eventual return.

Coach Lawson hails Aaron Judge’s first swing practice

The Yankees hitting coach has expressed optimism about the encouraging progress Aaron Judge made so far in his recovery from injury. Lawson expressed his observation that Aaron Judge’s swing was looking great and appeared unaffected by any issues with his back foot. He mentioned that the slugger made solid contact and generated power without any apparent discomfort.

“His swing looks great,’’ the coach informed. “It looks like he’s not missing anything. He’s able to turn on his back [right] foot and it doesn’t look like it’s bothering him at all.” 

Lawson expressed optimism, stating that it is indeed a positive sign to see Aaron Judge’s swing looking consistent with how it was last year and earlier this season. He acknowledged that there were still progressions that need to be made, but he admitted that this particular aspect of Aaron Judge’s progression was extremely promising and surpassed their expectations.


“It’s definitely a positive sign,’’ he told the New York Post. “His swing has looked exactly like it’s looked like every time he swung last year and earlier this year. I know there are progressions that have to be made, but this part of the progression looks as good as we could ever hope for.” 

According to Lawson, the absence of Aaron Judge should not be used as an excuse for the team’s current offensive struggles. He remains confident that the lineup has the ability to bounce back and perform well, even in Judge’s absence.

Lawson expressed that the team possesses great potential and can compete at the highest level in baseball. However, he emphasized the need for the team to step up and increase their productivity, especially until they regain full health.

Lawson acknowledged that there are no justifications for the team’s inability to score runs. He took responsibility for the offensive struggles, mentioning that he has been sacrificing sleep and putting in extra effort to address the issue.

Yankees want Aaron Judge to return

As of now, there is no specific timeframe for Aaron Judge’s return, and with the All-Star break approaching, the earliest possibility would be in the second half of the season. Earlier, his activities were restricted to participating in outfield catch sessions. According to Aaron Boone, the slugger is engaging in activities that align with his physical tolerance.

Aaron Judge has not yet engaged in running at full speed, and there are several other tests and evaluations that he must successfully pass before he can be considered for a return to the lineup.

The Yankees are eagerly anticipating Aaron Judge’s return, hoping that he can regain his previous form in the near future. Their performance in the 24 games following Aaron Judge’s injury hasn’t been ideal, with only 11 wins compared to 13 losses. This is in contrast to their strong start to the season, where they had a record of 35-25.

A significant portion of the offensive decline can be attributed to Aaron Judge’s absence. Prior to his injury, he was producing at an exceptional level, reminiscent of his outstanding performance from the previous year. Unfortunately, he sustained the injury during an impressive catch at Dodger Stadium, impacting his ability to contribute to the team’s offensive output.

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is at the dugout with Nestor Cortes in Cincinnati against the Reds on May 21, 2023.
NamethatYank/ Twitter

Boone assured the team’s determination to establish a consistent offense every game, highlighting the need for certain players to find their rhythm and contribute positively. He acknowledged that there is some momentum building within the team.

“We’re fighting to get that consistent offense, night in and night out,’’ he said. “We’ve got to get some guys going in the right direction. We’ve got a little steam there.”

Currently, the Yankees are managing with solid performances from Triple-A call ups but they lack Judge to compensate for the challenges faced by DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, and Josh Donaldson. While Jake Bauers has ignited the team with his contributions, and Anthony Volpe is displaying potential, the offense as a whole has yet to find its rhythm.

In the absence of Aaron Judge, the Yankee lineup lacks a significant threat, which is not unexpected given that they have lost a player who set the American League home run record last year and signed a lucrative nine-year, $360 million contract in the offseason.

Despite missing nearly a full month of play, his home run tally of 19 surpasses the next highest on the team, which is Gleyber Torres’ 12, by a margin of seven. If Aaron Judge had accumulated enough at-bats, his impressive 1.078 OPS before his injury would currently lead the league, just as his MLB-best 1.111 OPS did last year.

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