Yankees’ Aaron Judge brushes off injury concerns despite being pulled from workouts

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees remain hopeful that superstar pitcher Gerrit Cole will return and operate at full capacity in 2024 at some point. The expectation is that he will return in June and ramp up as the team approaches the All-Star break, but the Yankees are also working around a few limitations to Aaron Judge.

Judge has been dealing with an abdominal issue the last few days, being pulled out of workouts on Friday and causing a bit of panic on social media. However, the Judge indicated that he was feeling fine and that the MRIs came back clean, suggesting that they were doing due diligence to ensure his health.

“All I’ll say is we’re feeling pretty good. The MRIs came back clean. I think a lot of it was precautionary; no need to risk stuff in Spring Training. … The main goal is to be game-ready for Opening Day, so we’re just going to work towards that.”

The Yankees Are Being Extra Careful

Simply put, the Yankees can’t afford to lose two of their best players, and Cole will miss almost half of the 2024 season. Judge is coming off a year where he battled a toe injury that allowed him to play only 106 games, but he still managed to hit .267/.406/.613. The toe issue seems to be in the past, but after extensive work this winter with plenty of batting practice, Judge simply overdid it and needs to be cautious with how he operates moving forward.

The 31-year-old will now share this spotlight with Juan Soto, one of the league’s most exciting young hitters. Soto brings elite contributions with runners in scoring position and plate discipline that mirrors some of the best in baseball. He’s having a Hall of Fame career at just 25 years old, and in the final year of arbitration, the Yankees view Soto and Judge as their dynamic duo who will promote one of the best offenses in the game.

As long as they can maintain a strong pace, the Yankees can stifle any issues in the starting rotation for the time being. Of course, they hope Cole can return to 100% in the future, but they may have no choice but to make a move for a pitcher with experience since they will have to lean on youngsters like Will Warren to open the year if they don’t bring it a new arm.

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