New York Yankees: 3 burning questions heading into spring training 2.0

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees enter spring training 2.0 in the Bronx with multiple questions left to be answered. Prior to the shut down of baseball, the Yankees were dealing with a bevy of injuries to star players like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks. Let’s not forget about James Paxton and Luis Severino already scheduled to miss the entire 2020 campaign after succumbing to Tommy John surgery.

However, the Yankees have one of the deepest teams in Major League Baseball. Players like Miguel Andujar are waiting in the wings for an opportunity. Andujar lost his starting position at third base to Gio Urshela last season after he went down with a torn labrum. With general manager Brian Cashman stating that Stanton could fill the DH spot, Andujar might not have much of an opportunity with the Bombers, unless he’s featuring in left field.

“I feel that Stanton would be a legitimate choice for that DH role starting from the beginning,” Cashman said on a conference call Tuesday. “The question is whether he would be any choice at all in the beginning as an outfielder or not. I don’t know that answer.”

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at three burning questions for the New York Yankees:

1.) How will the Yankees utilize Miguel Andujar?

As stated, the Yankees have a decision to make with Andujar. He played in just 12 games last year after posting a .297 batting average with 27 homers and 47 doubles in his rookie campaign. He was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 2018, and returning to that form is his ultimate goal.

Andujar spent the spring attempting to learn how to play in the outfield. While the Yankees have several players ahead of him, he could be used as a depth piece and rotational hitter in the DH spot.

I see manager Aaron Boone rotating Andujar and Stanton and DH, attempting to limit fatigue and keep their high price slugger healthy for the shortened season.

Yankees’ Gerrit Cole faces off against Aaron Judge in live batting practice (must watch)

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

While initial reports indicated that New York Yankees star slugger Aaron Judge was simply hitting off of a tee, video captured on Thursday suggests otherwise. The team joined management in the Bronx on Wednesday morning, but simple rehabilitation and batting practice occurred on Thursday, which included star pitcher Gerrit Cole and a bevy of recovering players.

Cole, who is yet to pitch an active game for the Yankees after signing a nine-year, $324 million deal this off-season, pitched a three-inning simulation with a quality lineup, consisting of Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Luke Voit.

The informal work out gave Cole a chance to take the mound at Yankee Stadium and several players recovering from injuries to take live at-bats against a quality arm.

Matt Blake, pitching coach for the Yankees, was excited to see Cole on the mound for the first time, stating:

“He looked good today. He’s moving right along [with] his progression so we actually went three [innings] today and kind of set the bar for what we’re going to build on,” Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake said of Cole being ready for the regular season in three weeks.

“A good baseline to kind of face some hitters from our own team. So, it’s good to see some of those guys out there as well. But yeah, [he’s] in a really good spot and the nice thing is it doesn’t take fans in the stands to get him amped, so we’re good there.”

The New York Yankees are getting their pitchers some action:

Gerrit wasn’t the only one to enjoy some action, with Masahiro Tanaka and Adam Ottavino both partaking in workouts. Ottavino actually faced off against the same batters as Cole, over two simulated innings.

At 29 years old, Cole is coming off a fantastic campaign in 2019. He finished second in voting for the American League Cy Young award, leading the AL with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts. The Yanks will be depending on him to act as the team’s No. 1 pitcher for 2020 and beyond.

As for Judge, who GM Brian Cashman is optimistic about, regarding his potential return to the active team on Opening Day, is making excellent progress in his progression to game-form.

New York Yankee News: Watch Aaron Judge Crushing Home Runs today

It was this morning in Ramsey, New Jersey that a guy showed up at Don Bosco Prep School field, the guy was New York Yankees Aaron Judge. Judge was dressed in a Yankee cap, a white T-shirt and dark blue shorts. The apparently secret practice was arranged by Jason Ferber, the well-known New York-based baseball coach.

Aaron Judge got behind the plate and started hitting homer after homer that laughed at the field fences before the ball traveling into the woods.  Ferber said: What fractured rib he looks super healthy right now.”

Looking at the video below has to be heartened to New York Yankee fans. But be warned not to take too much stock in what you see.  Playing a grueling 60 game season in 66 days with the stress involved is very different than a short batting practice.

Aaron Judge suffered a stress fracture in his first rib diving for a catch at Yankee Stadium late last season.  It started showing up as shoulder pain that Judge endured during the offseason and continued in spring training 1.0.  It was finally found to be a collapsed lung and rib fracture after a battery of tests and MRIs.  The collapsed lung has resolved itself, but the rib fracture has been slow to heal.

Both General Manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone have indicated that they are optimistic that Judge will be ready to start the season, but have not ruled out that he may miss at least a few games. Boone yesterday said that summer camp 2.0 would be telling with many of the previously injured players.

Players started to arrive at Yankee Stadium yesterday to begin two days of physical exams and testing, including Masahiro Tanaka that has arrived back from Japan.  It appears after watching the video of Judge today that the Yankees may be being conservative with their comments on Judge’s recovery.  Time will tell.

 

Yankees’ Aaron Judge takes live swings, but recent history says he will miss more time (video)

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The Yankees are dealing with multiple injuries that still require rehabilitation time, despite having 3 1/2 extra months to recover for a condensed 60 game schedule. The 60 games will be played over 66 days, making the probability of suffering from fatigue and injuries much higher. This is a factor that played into the expansion of the active roster from 26 to 30 players.

Brian Cashman, general manager of the Yankees, stated that Giancarlo Stanton had not begun outfield drills and that he would likely slide into a DH role, excluding him from defensive duties.

At the very least, the Yankees could use Stanton’s offensive power and run support, but Aaron Judge is the more problematic injury still being dealt with. Judge has been recovering from a stress fracture in a rib suffered last September on a diving catch. Recent reports indicated a Judge has begun hitting off a tee and is taking some live swings.

With spring training 2.0 starting on Saturday, the Yankees have some time to develop their injured stars and hopefully get them back in an expanded role. If both Judge and Stanton are incapable of playing defense during the regular season in late July, the expectation is that Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner will supplement them with a dosage of Mike Tauchman.

Judge did not perform in any exhibition games prior to the shut down of Major League Baseball, due mainly to discomfort in his right pectoral muscle and shoulder when he was swinging the bat.

The New York Yankees are on the right track, but still have a lot of work left to do

Cashman did say they are optimistic he will be ready for Opening Day, but we’ve heard those words before, and they rung untrue. It ultimately comes to Aaron facing live pitching to see if he’s in game shape, but that leaves out the entire defensive portion of his game. With Stanton already sliding into the DH spot, for the most part, Judge will have to play defense.

“We are very optimistic as of right now that maybe his proximation that he would be ready on Opening Day and in the lineup will ring true,” Cashman said. “So now it comes down to game reps and facing live pitching and seeing if he’s in game shape.”

Should we expect him to be ready in a month’s time? Based on recent history, I would go as far as to say that’s extremely optimistic.

New York Yankees News: Don’t expect the Yankees to run away in a short season

Today the New York Yankees will open spring training camp 2.0, this time at the fabled Yankee Stadium.  Some players from foreign countries may not have arrived yet, but will shortly. The Yankees crew has been working feverishly to sterilize everything at the stadium.  All the health protocols are in place to protect your Yankee players.

The New York Yankees are favorites to get to the World Series, but in this shortened season, don’t expect them to run away with the division.  This season will be unique in that player travel will be limited with the new three-division MLB setup.  The Yankees will play their traditional East Coast rivals.  The Yankees will see the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and the Tampa Bay Rays at least twice for three or four-game series.  But this year they will also face their cross-town rival Mets, the Phillies, Nationals, Braves, and the Marlins.  They will not see the National league teams as frequently.

Other than the new division challenge, the Yankees have not always started out the season hot.  During the past three years, the Yankees new superstar pitcher Gerrit Cole has shown that if he falters it’s usually in the first third of the season, that mathematically equates to the length of this shortened season. In 2017 he went 3-5 in his first twelve starts. In 2018 he went 6-1. In 2019 he was 5-5. So in the past three years, over twelve starts, he is 14-11.  Based on his performance for the past three years, fans can expect him to go roughly 6-3.  Nevertheless, that is nothing like the 20-5 record of last year.  That means in this short season the Cole effect will have less of a positive impact for the Yankees.

The are other reasons the New York Yankees’ chances of reaching the postseason with ease will be diminished includes Giancarlo Stanton’s notoriously slow season starts. Stanton’s batting average over the first 50 or 60 games of the season has never reached over .232 in the last four seasons.  Even in his MVP 59 homer season of 2017, the exception, he only hit only .242 in his first 26 games.  2016 and 2019 were disasters for Stanton.  in 2016, in sixty games, he hit just .211. Last year he hit .305 but had only eight at-bats in the first two months due to injury.

Other Yankee position players that aren’t at their best at the beginning of the season include DJ LeMahieu, Miguel Andujar, Gary Sanchez has averaged just .244 over the last three years.  Mike Tauchman is just plain horrible early in the season. Over the past two years, he has hit just .178 in his first 60 games. By contrast, he hits .290 after his first sixty.

Pitchers that have early-season problems include Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ. Tanaka, in 2019 was 3-4 in his first twelve starts.  Happ was not as bad, but he went 5-3.  Something that will be missing this year for the entire season is Domingo German, who will be suspended for the entire 60 games regular season.  Last year he was the Yankees best pitcher going 9-1 in his first twelve starts.

On the bright side, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Aaron Hicks all play more productively in the first sixty games than after those games.  A significant factor for this short season will be if Aaron Judge can play at the beginning of the season.  In the past three years, Judge has hit .304 with 47 home runs in his first sixty games.  In his last 102 games over the same period, he has hit just .264 with only 63 home runs.  Yesterday in a conference call I was in GM Brian Cashman said that he was optimistic that Judge will be ready to play.

The New York Yankees season will depend on not having COVID-19 related trips to the IL, along with other injuries.  They must get off to a fast start and not have any prolonged periods of poor play.  In a season this short, anything can happen, but previous to the shutdown, the Yankees seem likely to breeze through the season.  Now in a short season, don’t expect that.  The distance between teams in all divisions will be tighter than expected, except for the traditionally bad teams, notably being the Orioles and Marlins.

If the Yankees can attain a 36-24 season, they will be in good shape, going into an exciting expanded postseason.  Based on how the New York Yankees fair the coronavirus, they will be at their best in the postseason. A World Series win for the Yankees will be very possible.

 

 

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge: “It’s time to get things rolling”

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

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.”

New York Yankees: Yankees set 60 man summer camp roster, Aroldis Chapman and more

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

Yankees set 60 man summer camp roster

The New York Yankees had until 4:00 pm Sunday to set their 60 man summer camp roster.  The roster will include all 39 players on their 40-man roster, plus 19 extras, including infielder Matt Duffy, who signed a minor-league contract with the club earlier on Sunday.  The Yankees used 58 of their available spots.

The Yankees players will report to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx for spring training 2.0 or more properly called summer camp on Wednesday, July 1 for orientation, mostly to familiarize the players with the health protocols. Training will start on Friday, July 3rd, for an abbreviated 60 game season that will feature an expanded postseason.

The New York Yankees’ first game of the season will be at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C… It will be a prime time blockbuster event to kick off the season.  As presently planned Yankees new ace pitcher Gerrit Cole will face three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.

Among the prospects included on the 60-man roster are pitchers Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt, Michael King, Alexander Vizcaino, and Luis Medina, infielder Kyle Holder, Rosell Herrera, and outfielder Estevan Florial.  After Yankee Manager Aaron Boone evaluates his players he will have to cut down the roster to 30 players by the time the season starts on July 23rd.  He will be able to keep 30 men on the roster for the first two weeks, for the second two weeks that will reduce to 28 for the following two weeks and then return to the normal 26 for the remainder of the shortened season.

To break down the roster, the Yankees will have at the start 33 pitchers, starters and relievers, 6 catchers including recently acquired Max McDowell.  They will have 10 infielders, including newly signed Matt Duffy. In the outfield, they will have the first spring training star Rosell Herrera who had the most hits in Florida camp along with 8 other Yankees.

Is Aroldis Chapman having a mid-life crisis?

A couple of months ago, Aroldis Chapman, the New York Yankees closer, walked into a south Florida car dealer that specializes in custom cars.  Chapman wanted something unique, and that’s what he got.

The 32-year-old flamethrowing Chapman,  who’s been bulking up for the 2020 season, is expected in New York this week as the Yankees report for a second spring training Wednesday. This year he will be arriving in a new custom three-axle black Kevlar coated Jeep, with red fabric interior.  The jeep will also feature the logo “The Cuban Missle” on the exterior as well as on the center or the steering wheel of his new $150,000 ride.

What does a 60 game shortened season hold for the Yankees?

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, they will see 1,800 players report to summer camp on Wednesday in preparation for a beat-up, bruised baseball season that will have only 60 games.  The other 102 games were spent by a war between the owners and players.  How this effects play, no one knows.

For New York Yankee fans, they will finally get to see some baseball, and will with great interest get to see their new pitching ace Gerrit Cole pitch in the season opener against the Nationals Max Scherzer in Washington D.C. One of the biggest questions the Yankees will have is if slugger Aaron Judge will be well enough to play in the opener.  The general consensus is that he will not be ready.  Summer camp will be telling as the Yankees star is still healing from a rib fracture that has been very slow to heal.  As of the last mention hitting coach, Marcus Thames indicated that Judge had not swung a bat.  For the past month, the Yankees have been mum on Judge’s rehab.

Because of the short season, predictions are difficult as anything can happen.  Some sources say that we, as fans, should not expect the Yankee offense to be as potent as last season.  Also, in the short season, the Yankees pitchers will not be stretched out to go deep into the game, and they will heavily depend on the excellent Yankee bullpen.

Manager Aaron Boone will not have to worry about tiring out the bullpen with the short season.  He will pretty much be able to use the bullpen as he wishes.  The Yankees are still favorites to get to the postseason, but again anything can happen.  If they get off to a slow start, that will not bode well.  Any team that has poor play for a prolonged time will most likely not get to the postseason.

The elephant in the room is the COVID-19 virus that could shut things down at any moment.  Many players coming to camp are coming from areas where the virus is raging, such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California.  Yankee players will follow strict health guidelines that were outlined in Commissioner Rob Manfred’s 101-page operations manual.  In attempts to keep an outbreak of the virus from happening, every Yankee player and personnel will undergo two temperature checks each day.

Rather than a marathon, this will be sprint this year.  Each game will take on more importance and will be played with the intensity of the postseason.  Further details on the season and the postseason are expected to be released shortly.

Stay with EmpireSportsMedia.com for all the latest MLB and New York Yankee news.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: New information indicates Aaron Judge could be ready for Opening Day

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

If the New York Yankees had started the regular season on time, they would’ve been without multiple star players, including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and James Paxton. That encompasses their entire starting outfield and one significant pitcher. It is also fair to mention that Luis Severino will miss the entire 2020 campaign, so the Yankees were down two influential pitchers before spring training even begun.

The New York Yankees have some positive injury news:

Stanton, who has been dealing with calf injuries since 2019, would have returned early on if the season had been 162 games. He is a near certainty to be a part of New York’s opener, according to Erik Boland of Newsday.

Judge, on the other hand, suffered a stress fracture on a rib on a diving catch last September, and it took several months for team doctors to unearth the discomfort that has been plaguing him.

The Yankee slugger has recently begun hitting off a tee, which attests to his progression through the rehabilitation program the Yankees developed for him. Judge played in only 102 games last season, showing a steady decrease in live action over the past three seasons. Over 378 at-bats, he posted 27 homers, 55 RBIs, and a .272 batting average.

The Bombers desperately need him to remain healthy for a shortened 60-game season, as his defensive abilities and offensive prowess will be a significant factor in the team’s overall success. While there will be an asterisk over the 2020 campaign, nonetheless, winning the World Series this year would end a decade long drought for the Yankees.

Hopefully, the addition of Eric Cressey as the Yankees’ strength and conditioning coach will begin to eliminate the injury bug that has plagued the team over the past two seasons. Soft tissue injuries have been a major issue, especially for players like Stanton. The number of Tommy John surgery that I’ve been conducted over the past year has been astronomical, and Cressey has the pedigree to reduce that number.

A consistently healthy Judge would be transformative for the roster and outfield. If he can begin taking live-reps, he could be on pace to start the regular season, which is projected to launch in late July. Spring training 2.0 will start in the coming days, giving him time and an excellent opportunity to feature in an exhibition game before the regular season comes around.

New York Yankees News 6/26: Yankees Mum on Judge, Yankees sign Wells, all the news here

New York Yankees strangely mum on Judge

Near the end of the New York Yankees 2019 season, Aaron Judge made a fantastic diving catch.  Although not known at the time, he fractured a rib.  Judge recalled that he felt something at the time, but continued to play.  During the offseason, he continued to feel pain in his shoulder.  Upon arriving at spring training, he reported the pain and trainers put him on a two-week hold.

When his pain did not get better, he underwent multiple tests, and eventually, an MRI that discovered the pain in the shoulder was sympathetic, the actual injury was a fractured rib.  They also found that he had had a collapsed lung with has since resolved itself.  However, through all of this, Judge still has not swung a bat. Initially, Manager Aaron Boone said that he believed that Judge would be ready to play when the season started.  Later he said June or July.

With the injury, Judge remained at the George M. Steinbrenner complex at Tampa, Florida, for treatment and rehab.  But since the time spring training was canceled, little information has been forthcoming.  At one point hitting coach, Marcus Thames stated that his rehab was progressing but that he had not swung a bat.  Since that statement, the Yankees have been mum on Judge’s rehab, which might indicate that  Judge will not be ready at the July 23 start of the season.

Yankees sign drafted Austin Wells

The New York Yankees used their first draft pick to draft Austin Wells. The pick of Austin Wells probably shouldn’t have been a surprise because the Yankees went after him in the draft three years ago when he was at Las Vegas High School.  Wells chose college instead and enrolled at the University of Arizona, where he has honed his skills and has proven to be a powerful left-hand hitter.  This could be a huge win for the Yankees because if he doesn’t work out as a catcher, he also has played in the outfield and at first base, keeping his bat in the lineup.

With his plate discipline and left-hand power, it is very possible that Wells may be on the superhighway to the majors. The Yankees have until August 1 to sign him. Wells is 6′ 2″ 220 pounds, is a 20-year-old star. It has been said that Austin Wells plays with the same intensity as Bryce Harper, who was out of the same Las Vegas high school. The Yankees may have Wells on that superhighway to the majors as they didn’t wait until August to sign Wells, they signed him to a contract yesterday. According to the YES Network, he got a $2.5 million signing bonus.

Matt Blake’s Job just got more difficult

When pitching coach Matt Blake became the new New York Yankee pitching coach he knew he would have a challenging job. But there have been some changes since then; one included the signing of pitching ace Gerrit Cole which was a good match for Blake as they are both analytically inclined.  However, the other change Blake could never have expected. The shutdown of spring training and the coronavirus.

It usually takes six weeks to ramp up pitchers, but even then, they do not have the full-arm strength to go deep into games. Faced with pitchers being separated from the game for over three months, Blake has just three weeks to get pitchers ready.  He has to balance ramping them up while at the same time protecting them from injury.

Another issue concerning Blake is that many of his pitchers believe they are ready because they have continued to throw during their time off.  The fact is that they aren’t ready. Throwing at home in the back yard or at a variety of facilities is not the same as throwing under stress or during games.  With the loss of ace, Luis Severino to Tommy John surgery Blake and manager Boone will have to watch Jordan Montgomery and Jonathan Loaisiga closely to determine who will fill that fifth vacant spot in the rotation. Presently Montgomery seems to be the favorite.

The Yankees have outfield options

The New York Yankees depth in the outfield will be a factor this year as it was last season.  The one position they most likely will not have to worry about is that Aaron Hicks returning from Tommy John surgery, with the season delay will now be ready to play in center field.  They have a very big plus in the durable Brett Gardner as Hick’s backup.

The right field will cause the biggest question with the unknown status of Aaron Judge, who is expected to man the position.  If he can’t at the start, the Yankees have Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman, who have varying experience manning right field.  Last year they had the veteran Cameron Maybin who is now with the Rangers organization.  Mike Tauchman has nothing to prove, but Clint Frazier does, as it may be his last chance to show the Yankees he can be a capable defender.

With the Yankees strong bench, they have the most options in left field. Giancarlo Stanton will be the starting left fielder, but they will also want to use him frequently as the DH.  As it looks now, they will alternate DH and left-field play with Stanton and Miguel Andujar.  With no place to put “Miggy” and having him get some experience during spring training in left, they will want to keep his bat in the lineup. If needed, they also can use Mike Tauchman in left, as well as super-utility player Tyler Wade.

A new year and a way different baseball game

New York Yankee players and fans will experience a very different baseball game this year.  The coronavirus will have an immense effect on the season, even if it can be completed. There will be a real different feel for the players as they will lose the energy of having cheering fans in the stands.  They will have the stress of playing while hoping not to carry the coronavirus home to their families. Some players have indicated that they will, for the most part, stay away from their families during the shortened 60 day season.

Some of the other changes will be playing teams that are not that familiar with like the Philadelphia Phillies, the World Champion Washington Nationals, the Marlins, and the cross-town New York Mets.  There will be a universal DH and an expanded postseason.  Games that go beyond nine innings will have a man on second to start the tenth inning. There will be a 30 man roster from the start of the season. There are sure to be more details to be released in the coming days, so stay with EmpireSportsMedia.com for all the latest developments.

Yankees give glorious injury update on Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees could gain back Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks for the regular season:

With the MLB and PA finally agreeing to a 60-game regular season, baseball is on the comeback trail. The New York Yankees will be favorites to land a playoff spot in such a short campaign, and they have several players returning from injury to aid the cause.

While Luis Severino will miss the remainder of the season, the expectation is that Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and James Paxton will be ready to go in the coming weeks. The last update on Judge stated that he was having trouble returning to form, following a stress fracture in a rib suffered last September on a diving catch.

Since then, he has struggled to begin working out again, but reports have indicated he could be ready for a late July opening day. Judge still wasn’t swinging a bat in late May following spring training, but the good news is he hasn’t suffered any setbacks over the past few weeks of quarantine and rehabilitation.

“It’s been tough,’’ Thames said of Judge not being able to swing as he recovers from the fractured rib that sidelined him this spring and likely happened last September diving for a ball. “He really wants to get going. [We’re] just trying to stay safe. When the doctors let him, [we’ll] turn him loose. He’ll be ready. He’s chomping at the bit to get out there and start working hard on his swing.”

Hicks, on the other hand, is doing exceptionally well as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

“I would be ready to play,’’ Hicks told The New York Post a few days ago. “The plan was July to see where I am at and ready to play games. For me, I want to be back to the arm strength I had before.’’

“I am doing really well. I am up to 160 feet throwing, taking BP on the field and doing defensive work. I get better and better [throwing] every day and every week. The throwing gets stronger. It is definitely coming. It comes in its own ways when it wants to. I am not too far off. I will throw to bases coming up here pretty soon, think next week. My arm feels great.’’

Having both Judge and Hicks back in action would be excellent news for a Yankees team that desperately needs a healthy outfield. While players like Clint Frazier might suffer due to the return, a shortened season will give the Yankees a fantastic opportunity to walk away with a potential World Series trophy — the first in over a decade.