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.