Judge (abdominal discomfort) hopes to be 'game-ready for Opening Day'

March 16th, 2024

TAMPA, Fla. -- There were about a dozen media members encircling Aaron Judge’s locker at Yankees camp on Friday afternoon when a hand clutching a smartphone wedged through the crowd, accompanied by a booming voice that delivered the most unexpected question of the day.

“Aaron,” said first baseman/reporter , “do you think it’s fair to your Grapefruit League teammates that you’re not out there with us?”

Judge didn’t skip a beat, showcasing an opportunity to expertly show teammates how to deflect a leading query.

“You know, those guys have been working hard all year,” Judge said, smirking. “They’re getting some good quality reps. It’s fun to be a part of and fun to watch.”

Rizzo’s assistance offered levity to a topic that has the potential to be much less of a laughing matter, as Judge continues to deal with abdominal discomfort following a negative MRI on Monday.

There is uncertainty surrounding when Judge will return to Grapefruit League action; manager Aaron Boone said that he plans to have Judge in center field on Saturday against the Blue Jays, but Judge said he is not sure if he will play.

“All I’ll say is we’re feeling pretty good,” Judge said. “The MRIs came back clean. I think a lot of it was precautionary; no need to risk stuff in Spring Training.”

Judge was scheduled to resume batting practice on Friday, but he was not listed in any of the club’s on-field BP groups. Instead, Judge opted to follow a modified program that would shield his work from public view.

“It’s just easier,” Judge said. “We’ve got our own little schedule going. We’re going to go through a normal routine in the weight room, kind of run around, move around a little bit. Get in the cage a little bit and kind of go from there.”

Judge said that he would hit off a tee and soft-toss on Friday. He reiterated that his objective is to be in the lineup for Opening Day on March 28 against the Astros.

“The main goal is to be game-ready for Opening Day, so we’re just going to work towards that,” Judge said.