Laugh. That’s all you can do at this point when it comes to the Yankees and their injuries. Laugh. Two weeks after Aaron Boone said Judge was “just dealing with some crankiness” and would be shut down from throwing or batting, I knew this wouldn’t end well. Boone’s nonchalant explanation of injuries coupled with Judge’s injury history and the Yankees’ frequently wrong handling of injuries meant this was going to get worse before it got better. And it has gotten worse.
On Saturday, three days after it was announcing Giancarlo Stanton has a Grade 1 calf strain and will most likely miss the start of the season, Boone told YES that Judge is going through “testing” to find out why his shoulder is still bothering him.
When Judge’s shoulder issue was originally announced by Boone two weeks ago, I wrote If You’re Not Worried About Aaron Judge Being Injured, You Should Be and was told I was overreacting. Sorry if I have been traumaitzed by the 2019 Yankees and their medical staff, but a four-month layoff between the end of the ALCS and the beginngi of spring strainign didn’t magically create trust between the team’s handling of injuries and me. After Boone said Judge would be shut down from throwing and batting for at least the next week, it was only two days later that he was seen throwing and before his shut down period ended, he was once again swinging a bat, which seemed odd given the Yankees’ stated rehab plan for him. The shoulder “crankiness” that Boone described still hasn’t gone away for Judge, and not only has he not played in a spring training game, but the Yankees aren’t even sure what the problem is.
“It’s frustrating that we haven’t pinpointed exactly what it is, what’s caused the discomfort, so that’s the frustrating part,” Boone said. “But I would say I feel a little more optimistic as to where we’re at.”
Of course Boone says he’s optimistic. What do you expect him to say? That he’s freaking out like the fan base because a team in the middle of a championship window that’s supposed to reach the World Series is going into the season without 40 percent of its expected rotation and now possibly without its entire expected outfield. Boone is definitely thinking that, he’s just not going to say it.
“We’re in a holding pattern with it, just trying to figure out what exactly is going on,” Boone said. “We’re trying to get our arms around if we can pinpoint something that’s causing some of the discomfort. At this point we haven’t found that.”
Leave it to the Yankees to still not know what’s wrong with the team’s best player two weeks after finding out about his ailing shoudler, thinking the “crankiness” would magically disappear with a few days of rest. An MRI was unable to reveal anything, so now Judge will have another test on Monday to try to discover what the issue is.
I don’t know how anyone could be optimistic about this injury or any Yankees injury. In two weeks, Judge hasn’t gotten any better. He’s still able to throw, but unable to hit without discomfort. Boone said Judge would be ready for Opening Day if he’s able to get into games over the final 10 days of spring training, though that would mean Judge has to start playing by the end of next week, and considering he’s not only not currently ready to play in games, but that his shoulder discomfort is still a mystery, playing in games by the end of next week feels a little unrealistic.
What is becoming realistic though is an Opening Day outfield consisting of three of Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar. There’s now 24 days until spring training and the Yankees are very close to beginning an expected championship season without their entire starting outfield.
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