New York Yankees: Aaron Judge could still miss time in a significantly delayed regular season

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Aaron Judge
Mar 3, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) runs the bases after hitting a two run home run during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at Aaron Judge and why he could still miss time during the 2020 season with the New York Yankees:

When the Yankees initially diagnosed Aaron Judge with a stress fracture on a rib, nobody anticipated such negative news. He had been feeling some discomfort for months without realizing a fracture in a bone –  that’s a significant miss. This is a testament to the previous strength and conditioning regimen, who were unable to decipher the physical strain he was experiencing.

Fast forward several months, and Judge has been gifted the opportunity to heal while the MLB suspends operations. The Yankees were scheduled to open the season without Judge, Aaron Hicks, James Paxton, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luis Severino. Manager Aaron Boone mentioned the additional time to heal has been a silver lining for the Bombers, who have been experiencing higher rates of injuries the past few seasons.

“This time down has allowed that rib, that bone to hopefully continue to heal,” Boone said. “All signs are encouraging there. Hopefully, this time down allows that rib to heal properly and hopefully have him part of all this as well.”

Despite Judge slowly making a recovery, reports have indicated that the league could open back up in the coming weeks. A suggested July 1 opening day has been floated in the media, but nothing is confirmed yet. With Judge still recovering, it is possible he could miss regular-season games, which attest to how significant the injury was and how much time he would have missed if the league had started on time. He would not be ready for spring training if it were to begin today, and he was far from participating in Grapefruit League play back in February and March.

Aside from the broken rib, Judge also suffered a collapsed lung that has healed over the past few months. He received injections prior to the postseason, so he could mitigate the pain interfering with his performance. Throughout the off-season, he did not experience any discomfort, but when he began to ramp up activities before spring training, the pain started to settle in. Last year, Judge was limited to 102 games due to an oblique strain.

Getting out of this injury funk is a priority for Eric Cressey and the new strength and conditioning staff.