TAMPA, Fla. -- The batting practice groups for the Yankees' first full-squad workout of the spring did not include Aaron Judge, with the star outfielder revealing on Tuesday that he has been dealing with a sore right shoulder for the better part of two weeks.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Judge was recently sent for an MRI that revealed "not much change." Judge will not be ready to play in the Grapefruit League exhibition opener on Saturday against the Blue Jays, but Boone believes that the injury will not impact Judge's availability for Opening Day,
"I've been hitting since early November and working out since early November," Judge said. "Once I got down here and hit on the field, I just felt a little soreness up in the shoulder. Nothing alarming, nothing that I was like, 'Hey, we need to really check this out.' We've got plenty of time going into Spring Training; let's take it slow these next couple days, make sure everything's right."
Though Judge did not hit on Tuesday, he participated in stretching, jogging and outfield drills, as he has been doing at the team's Minor League complex. The 27-year-old is coming off a season in which he hit .272 with 27 home runs, 55 RBIs and a .921 OPS in 102 games, while missing about two months with a left oblique strain.
"He's just dealing with some crankiness, a little soreness in his shoulder," Boone said. "We want to make sure we treat him conservatively and get him in a really good spot before we hit the ground running with him. We feel like it's a pretty minor thing, and probably in the next couple of days we'll start ramping him back up. It's something we just wanted to get ahead of."
Judge said that the Yankees' elimination in the American League Championship Series spurred him to accelerate his timetable for offseason workouts, as well as the revelations about the Astros' sign-stealing activities in 2017 and '18.
"I didn't take too much time off going into the season, just because I was pretty fired up to get back out there," Judge said. "Every year, you keep getting closer: in '17, one game away; in '18, getting knocked out in the [AL Division Series]; and this past year, getting knocked out in the [ALCS] after a DJ LeMahieu homer. Right when he hit that, I was sitting on deck like, 'We're winning it all.'
"Then to, next inning, come up short like that with the [José Altuve] homer, it was pretty tough. I was thinking about that for quite a while; I was thinking about how I felt in that clubhouse after that last out. That's kind of what drove me this past offseason and continues to drive me. I don't want to have that feeling again. I don't want to have that emptiness, that disappointment, that failure. So yeah, I'm pretty driven; this whole team's driven."