Yankees’ Aaron Judge delivers vaguely optimistic injury update

yankees, aaron judge
May 29, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the third inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

When a team loses the reigning MVP, it’s inevitable that they will face a considerable setback. This is the current predicament for the New York Yankees, as Aaron Judge, their standout player, left an impressive .291 average and .404 OBP behind after straining a ligament in his right big toe while making an extraordinary catch against the Dodgers.

Judge, who was in the midst of another MVP-worthy season, was a driving force in the Yankees’ offense. The uncertainty of how long he will be sidelined has compelled the team to look for ways to compensate for his production – a virtually impossible task.

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The Yankees need Aaron Judge back ASAP:

The updates on Judge’s condition have ranged from alarming to hopeful. However, his latest comments suggest there might be a glimmer of hope for an earlier-than-expected return.

“I think it’s all based on pain,” he said. “It’s a good sign that it’s feeling better every single day. I don’t think there’s a need for a timeline.”

With daily improvements in his toe, the healing process is well underway, but this could shift at any moment. Fortunately, there have been no setbacks or complications, indicating it’s a matter of pain tolerance.

“There’s still a bunch of stuff going on in there,” Judge said on Sunday. “But improvements each day, which has been a good sign. No step backs or any holdups. We’re on the right track.

Fortunately, Judge’s injury differs from the one DJ LeMahieu encountered in 2022, which prematurely ended his season. The Yankees want to ensure they give Judge sufficient time to fully recover and minimize the risk of further injury.

“Things like this take time. It’s just such a unique situation. If it was like a hamstring or something with the shoulder, there’s a little better foundation to know when to come back. We’ll be back.”

The Yankees simply can’t afford to lose Judge a third time, as their team is plagued with inconsistent hitters and high-cost contracts that aren’t delivering as expected.

Eventually, the team must string together consistent performances without Judge, particularly if they aim to compete with the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East standings.

Unfortunately, the Rays are already establishing a comfortable lead in the division, holding a nine-game advantage over the Yankees.

The Rays suffered a hard loss against a struggling Oakland Athletics team on Monday. The Yankees are hoping for a few more such instances to help them claw back into contention.