Can the Yankees open without Aaron Judge? Injury clouds star’s status

Aaron Judge, player of the New York Yankees
Amanda Paula
Friday March 15, 2024

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This week, Aaron Judge’s name reverberated loudly through the baseball world, taking center stage alongside the unfortunate news of Gerrit Cole’s injury setback. In the bustling ambiance of the Yankees’ clubhouse at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, reporters streamed in on a Friday afternoon, eager to uncover updates on Aaron Judge’s status.

Aaron Judge’s absence from the club’s pregame workout schedule immediately caught the attention of the media. According to NJ media, this absence was attributed to his ongoing battle with a sore core, deviating from Manager Aaron Boone’s previous announcement.

Aaron Judge determined to pay any cost to be ready for Opening Day

According to MLB.com, Aaron Judge expressed his hope to be ready for Opening Day, despite considerable uncertainty surrounding his health and recovery.

Dealing with abdominal discomfort, Judge articulated his desire to be “game-ready for Opening Day” during a media scrum at Yankees camp on Friday afternoon. Anthony Rizzo, acting as both a first baseman and reporter, injected humor into the discussion by questioning Judge’s absence from Grapefruit League action.

Aaron Judge adeptly deflected the question, acknowledging his teammates’ hard work and the value of their practice reps. However, despite the lighthearted exchange, Judge’s abdominal discomfort remains a significant concern, even after a negative MRI earlier in the week.

While Manager Aaron Boone suggested that Aaron Judge might return to center field action on Saturday against the Blue Jays, Aaron Judge himself expressed uncertainty about his participation.

In an effort to manage his recovery, Aaron Judge opted for a modified program away from public view, focusing on tee work and soft-toss sessions on Friday. His aim is to return to the lineup for Opening Day on March 28 against the Astros.

Considering Aaron Judge’s readiness for the season opener, the Yankees are navigating his discomfort cautiously, prioritizing precaution over unnecessary risks during Spring Training.

Aaron Judge’s brief update

Shortly before the end of the media’s access to the clubhouse, Aaron Judge, stationed at his locker, offered a brief update. Despite his exclusion from the workout schedule, he disclosed plans to engage in some batting practice: primarily tee work and front toss sessions in the cages.

“We’ve got our own little schedule going,” Aaron Judge remarked, outlining a routine that involved typical gym exercises, light running, and cage work.

Boone’s initial projection had slated Aaron Judge for a potential return to game action on Saturday, which would mark his first appearance in a spring game since the previous weekend.

Amidst the jest, the looming reality remained: Aaron Judge and the Yankees faced a tight deadline of less than two weeks to navigate through this setback, crucial for Judge’s readiness for the upcoming regular season. With Opening Day looming just 13 days away, Judge’s role as the Yankees’ starting center fielder hung in the balance.

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