Sportress of Blogitude

Yankees uncertain when Aaron Judge will return from ‘general soreness’

Aaron Judge was pulled from a game earlier this week and then sat out Wednesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles over what New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone attributed to as “general soreness” on his left side, and the superstar slugger’s return to lineup remains uncertain.

As a result, it’s unknown whether Judge will be in the lineup Friday for the Yankees’ series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays or even available for the weekend.

Judge’s absence Wednesday was characterized as only precautionary, and Boone added Thursday that the Yankees do not expect the outfielder to undergo any medical tests due to the setback.

“I think it’s just been the general wear and tear of the first several days,” Boone said Thursday, via MLB.com.

Boone went on to say that Judge first experienced the soreness issue in his side during Tuesday’s 7-2 win over the Orioles, when he went 3-for-5 with four RBI. However, the Yankees skipper suspects a swing-heavy start at DH in last Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays may have been the catalyst to Judge’s latest injury woes.

“He took a lot of swings during that day,” Boone said. “I think it’s just been kind of gradual. Yesterday during the game he obviously had great results, but I think he was just kind of a little sore during the game and then sore after. With the off-day tomorrow, I didn’t want to take any chances.”

Injuries of course have long been an issue for Judge. Such setbacks limited Judge to appearing in 112 games in 2018 and only 102 in 2019 following an impressive debut in 2017 when he led the American League in home run, won the AL Rookie of the Year award and came in second in AL MVP voting.

In 2020, a cracked rib and a punctured lung short-circuited his spring training, and Judge ended up playing in only 32 regular-season games in MLB’s truncated 60-game schedule due to a Grade 1 right calf strain.

Judge alluded to shaking things up in his offseason routine in November, saying his goal was to figure out how to put his chronic injury woes behind him. Those efforts included Judge, along with Giancarlo Stanton, changing their offseason regimens. The two sturdy players declined to bulk up or even maintain their respective, considerable muscle mass.

Judge was off to a torrid start this season before this week’s developments. Through five games, the slugger is batting .364 with two homers, five RBI and a 1.028 OPS. Despite with the obvious disappointment over Judge once again having a season derailed — at least temporarily — by an injury setback, expect the Yankees to play it extremely cautious with the star and not rush his return.