TAMPA – The frustration of being sidelined yet again is growing on Aaron Judge as he continues to have tests to try to isolate the reason for his shoulder and chest pain.
“I still got nothing,” Judge said Thursday morning as he stood by his locker at Steinbrenner Field. “You guys have been seeing me run around to different appointments, different doctors, so I still got nothing for you.
“There are a couple of more tests, a couple more talks with doctors, we’ll try to figure out what is going on because quite a few of the tests are coming back clean,” said Judge, who has been getting a battery of tests on his shoulder, right pectoral muscle and rib cage area.
Over the last two seasons, Judge has missed 110 games due to injuries, a broken hand and an oblique injury, after playing 155 games his rookie session.
“It’s tough, in ’18, I had the fluke injury getting hit,” the right fielder said of the broken hand. “That’s nothing you ever want to have happen and then the following year straining an oblique early in the season. That’s pretty tough. I’m pretty frustrated with it. I want to be out there with my team supporting them on the field, battling with them, hopefully that is why we are talking to a lot of doctors trying to get some answers so we can figure this out and move on.”
Judge has not appeared in an exhibition game and has yet to take batting practice outside during this camp.
Exactly where is the discomfort?
“Chest and shoulder,” Judge said. “That’s what’s making it tough. I’m trying to describe what I’m feeling, but I haven’t got a definite answer what’s going on. It’s a combination. One day I wake up and the chest is feeling good and next day the shoulder is feeling bad and the next day I wake up and the shoulder is feeling good. It’s kind of back and forth right now.”
Asked about not being available Opening Day and Brian Cashman’s remarks Tuesday saying Judge and Giancarlo Stanton would not be ready March 26, Judge still held out hope, though it is highly unlikely that Judge will be ready for action.
“I think (Cashman) was talking about Stanton when he said that, I talked to him after that and he clarified that,” Judge explained. “The goal is always to be ready for Opening Day. You only need about 30 at-bats to get ready for the season. I still have plenty of time for that, and if I don’t get them here, I can go on the backfields or go across the street (to the minor league complex) to get those at-bats.
“We just have to get answers first. That’s the biggest thing.”
When those answers come, Judge could face a period of rest and rehab that could knock him out for weeks.
“Look, first thing, we’ve got to get what it is, what we’re dealing with, what the prognosis is, what’s the course of action,” Aaron Boone said in Lakeland before the Yankees played the Tigers. “So I know we get wrapped up in Opening Day and is he going to be (ready)? I don’t know, I want to know what we’re dealing with and hopefully have a timeframe in place that, ‘OK, this is how long it’s going to be before he’s back doing anything.’ And then we’ll be able to better make those evaluations.”