New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has spent time on the injured list in four of his five MLB seasons, so when he was out of the lineup Monday, alarms bells went off in Yankeeland. Judge had not played in a spring training game since Friday and Monday was the club’s last exhibition game before traveling to New York.
During an in-game television interview Monday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Judge is a “little under the weather,” but will travel with the team to New York and is expected to be in the Opening Day lineup Thursday. Boone confirmed Judge has cleared the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
“Yesterday we had a planned day off. Today just a little under the weather,” Boone said during the YES Network broadcast. “Had to go through all the MLB protocols. He’s good to go and be with us in New York.”
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Judge, 29 in April, missed time with a calf strain last year and he would’ve started the year on the injured list with a broken rib suffered late in 2019 had the season started on the time. He also visited the injured list with a broken wrist in 2018 and an oblique strain in 2019. Overall, Judge has played only 242 of 384 possible games the last three years, or 63 percent.
The Yankees have lost three key players to injuries this spring: Zack Britton (bone spur in elbow), Justin Wilson (tight shoulder), and Luke Voit (torn meniscus). They will also start the year without Luis Severino, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and is expected to return at midseason.
In parts of five MLB seasons Judge is a career .272/.390/.558 hitter who has averaged 45 home runs and 7.7 WAR per 162 games. Since his rookie year in 2017, Judge has never not been excellent when healthy, but staying on the field has been a major issue the last few years.