The New York Yankees will report this week to start the second version of the spring training, with the slight difference that it is already summertime. Coronavirus effectively took three months of baseball from us, and 102 games. But it also let injured players, such as Aaron Judge, to get healthy.
Judge suffered a broken rib and a punctured lung while making a catch last September, and he couldn’t shake off the injury for much of the offseason and into the spring.
However, with baseball activities set to resume this week, the talented outfielder said that he has been able to “hit a little bit,” which was the only thing that he hadn’t been able to do until recently.
The New York Yankees’ right fielder was performing only weight-room exercises during the spring at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla.
“This break has allowed some of the players, including myself, to get healthy,” Judge told Sports Illustrated. “Luckily, I’ve been able to go into our facility in Tampa Bay with five or six teammates to work out, get on the field and run around, and hit a little bit. For us, it’s kind of been business as usual and has felt like an extended Spring Training.”
The Yankees could have Judge by opening day
The extended break, therefore, was beneficial for Judge, who went from missing a couple of months of the season to potentially being healthy when the Yankees take on the Washington Nationals on July 23, on Opening Day.
Considering that he started hitting in November, his injury, not diagnosed at the time, wasn’t able to heal properly.
“He never shares if something’s bothering him,” Cashman said on May 14, “so obviously when he did show up in the spring and said something has been bothering him, it was an ‘uh-oh’ moment, because he really does not ever complain about anything. He didn’t complain in the wintertime, either. But once the testing came back, once they eventually found it, the timeframe looked like it was going to take us more likely into summer.”
Judge returned to New York on the weekend, flying from Florida on a private jet with teammates Mike Ford and Tyler Wade per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.
“I honestly can’t wait to get back out there,” Judge told SI. “It’s going to be an exciting year. I’ve been telling my teammates that we have one of the best teams in the league, especially with the acquisition of Gerrit Cole in our rotation. It’s going to be something special.”
The Yankees’ star also said that it will be tough to adapt to baseball in the COVID-19 world, but he is ready.
“Missing out on some sunflower seeds is going to be tough, but I’ll take playing baseball over that aspect any day,” Judge said. “It’s time to get things rolling. The fans need baseball back.”