TAMPA, Fla. -- While the Yankees absorb the likelihood that Aaron Judge will not be ready to appear in their Opening Day lineup, the club is continuing to send the slugger for testing, seeking to determine the cause of the discomfort that has shifted from his right shoulder to his right pectoral muscle.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Judge underwent two more rounds of testing in Tampa prior to Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Phillies. Cashman has referred to the Yankees’ approach as a “car wash” of examinations that is now approaching double digits.
“He's obviously going through a series of tests,” Cashman said. “It's not like one or two, it's a number approaching seven to 10 total, so they can make sure they have a full evaluation and determine what ails him. When they're complete, we'll either be able to tell you we're in the clear or we'll be able to tell you that we have a full diagnosis and the timeframe and everything else like that.”
During a WFAN radio appearance on Tuesday, Cashman expressed optimism that Judge will not require surgery. Asked on Wednesday if that stance had changed, Cashman replied, “I was optimistic yesterday because of how he's feeling, so I'm not going to repeat anything further than what I said yesterday until they get everything done. There's nothing more to say.”
Judge was one of the earliest-arriving Yankees players, checking into the club’s Minor League complex in late January, but he halted hitting and throwing after experiencing soreness in his right shoulder. Judge recently increased his throwing to 120 feet and hit indoors against coaches, but then reported the discomfort in his pectoral area.
With Judge and Giancarlo Stanton unlikely to be active on March 26, the Yanks’ Opening Day outfield projects to feature Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman and perhaps Miguel Andújar flanking Brett Gardner.
“It’s been hard not getting that conclusion as to what exactly is going on,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I feel like we're getting close to that, and we'll probably have some [conclusions] hopefully in the next day or so. For Aaron, you know it's been frustrating. For all of us, we want to get to the bottom of this and get answers about what we need to do for him.”