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Inbox: Will Judge be hampered by wrist injury?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers fans' questions
January 31, 2019

Are there any concerns about Aaron Judge's right wrist? -- Eric E., North Plainfield, N.J.The course of Judge's season was altered on July 26, when he was drilled by an up-and-in fastball from the Royals' Jakob Junis. Judge was able to return in late September but said that he did

Are there any concerns about Aaron Judge's right wrist?
-- Eric E., North Plainfield, N.J.

The course of Judge's season was altered on July 26, when he was drilled by an up-and-in fastball from the Royals' Jakob Junis. Judge was able to return in late September but said that he did not expect his wrist to fully heal until the offseason. With Spring Training mere weeks away, the slugger is expected to be ready to fully participate in all drills.
That was a luxury Judge did not enjoy a year ago, when he was recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Judge should "absolutely benefit" from the rest and recuperation of a full winter, as well as having been able to take on his normal training regimen.
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"I think he'll be ahead of the curve in that way," Boone said. "Obviously he finished the season very strong for us in his play, so I'm not worried about anything with him. But I am excited that he's going to have a normal offseason, as far as going into the offseason fairly healthy. Hopefully that benefits him and his ability to get ready for this season."
As Judge prepares to report to Tampa, Fla., the slugger has been busy. This past week, he announced the creation of his All Rise Foundation, which Judge said aims to "inspire children and youth to become responsible citizens and encourage them to reach unlimited possibilities."
A worthy mission, indeed.
Is Brian Cashman willing to use Aaron Hicks as a trade chip?
-- Danny S., Dayton, Nev.

Cashman said in December that the Yankees have fielded trade interest in Hicks, who will be eligible for free agency after this season and is primed to receive a significant raise over the $6 million he recently scored in his final season of arbitration.

A contract extension has been discussed internally, but if the organization instead packaged Hicks to address a need, its crowded outfield suggests it could absorb that loss better than at some other positions. At present, the Yankees would prefer to begin the season with the switch-hitting center fielder on the roster.
Is there still any chance that the Yankees are considering Bryce Harper or Manny Machado?
-- Michael C., Calgary, Canada

Since Dec. 12, the day Cashman announced that the front office was a "fully functional Death Star" capable of pivoting in any direction, the team has added J.A. Happ, Troy Tulowitzki, Zach Britton, DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino, and finalized the Sonny Gray trade. The Yankees have been busy; just not with Machado or Harper.
The team has spoken "in concepts" with Machado but has still not made a formal offer, according to the New York Daily News, and the Yankees have been observers in the Harper sweepstakes. Never say never, but at this moment it appears unlikely either player will be a Yankee.

Is it just a rumor that the Yankees are trying to pull off a trade for Nolan Arenado? Anything to it?
-- Tyler S., Lynchburg, Va.

There are no ongoing discussions regarding Arenado, but it makes sense that New York would be interested in yet another Denver import, potentially in a midseason trade or as a free agent after the season.
As for Arenado's play on the field, what's not to like? The Yanks' level of need may be greater at that point, depending on how Miguel Andújar handles his second year in the big leagues.

Who is one Minor Leaguer you could see as a surprise contributor at the Major League level this year?
-- Richard H., Brooklyn, N.Y.

It may not come as a surprise, but do not sleep on Clint Frazier coming into camp. He has development time to make up after missing most of 2018 with concussion issues, but Frazier seems motivated to steal playing time in left field away from Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury. If healthy, Frazier can be an impact performer at the big league level.

Since this is CC Sabathia's last year, are there any proven starters who will be available as free agents next year?
-- John A., Casselberry, Fla.

There should be several talented arms available this coming offseason. The Astros' Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale of the Red Sox project to lead the pack of potential free agents, with Houston's Justin Verlander and the Giants' Madison Bumgarner close behind.
Other notable hurlers who could generate interest include Jhoulys Chacín, Cole Hamels, Miles Mikolas, Jake Odorizzi, Rick Porcello, Tanner Roark, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Wheeler.
With Mariano Rivera going into the Hall of Fame, how many players will have a Yankees plaque on their caps?
-- Michael D., Lewiston, Maine

The upcoming formal inductions of Rivera, Mike Mussina and Lee Smith will give the Hall of Fame a total of 57 players, managers and executives who spent all or part of their careers with the Yankees (Smith was in New York for eight games in 1993). Rivera's plaque will be the 20th to display the interlocking "NY" logo, and the first since Joe Torre was inducted in 2014.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.