TAMPA, Fla. – Aaron Judge’s right shoulder began barking again on Friday, prompting another round of tests – and more than a few crossed fingers – at Yankees camp.
The results, to date, haven’t shown anything alarming.
Additional exams on Judge’s aching shoulder will be conducted on Monday, creating another uncomfortable spring training pause at One Steinbrenner Drive.
“I mean, I’m a little frustrated for him, not being able to get our arms around exactly what’s going on,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Saturday of Judge’s lingering issue.
Having arrived early to camp, Judge was shut down from batting practice just before the Yankees’ first full-squad workout, when he initially experienced discomfort.
A similar ache resurfaced on Friday, the second day that Judge resumed taking BP swings indoors.
Judge had increased his throwing to 120 feet in recent days, but Boone said the issue surfaces only when Judge is hitting.
The slugging right fielder was at Steinbrenner Field but not available to speak to reporters on Saturday, when a Yankees split squad defeated the Detroit Tigers, 8-2.
“He was just not right hitting (on Friday),’’ said Boone, who got that report on Friday evening. With the additional test, including another MRI, “we’re trying to rule out everything that could be going on.’’
Solving a mystery
In the best-case scenario, Judge would still have time to play in the March 26 opener at Baltimore. Maybe it’s that old spring training optimism, but Boone believes that “time wise, we’re still fine,’’ if Judge checks out OK.
“Bottom line is, if he starts playing in (exhibition) games a week, 10 days out, he’d technically be fine,’’ Boone said. “The first thing is getting him up to that point, and I don’t know when that is.’’
That great unknown dogged Luis Severino, whose mysterious right forearm ache – which first surfaced last October – produced clean results in two offseason MRIs and a CT scan.
And when the ache resurfaced last week, Severino was sent for a dye-contrast MRI that revealed a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Severino underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on Thursday.
Including his sensational 2017 AL Rookie of the Year season, Judge has yet to have a fully healthy season in pinstripes.
Following his Home Run Derby victory at the All-Star break, Judge developed an aching left shoulder that bothered him until September and led to offseason arthroscopic surgery.
Hit by a pitch in 2018, Judge fractured his right wrist and missed 45 team games, from July 27-Sept. 14.
And during last season’s first half, Judge was sidelined for two months due to a strained left oblique.
After a mid-August call-up in 2016, Judge’s season ended in mid-September, due to a right oblique strain.
After playing in one exhibition game, Giancarlo Stanton is down with a strained right calf, putting his status for opening day in jeopardy.
Judge’s uncertain status has put a greater focus on the Yanks’ outfield situation, with Clint Frazier squarely in the mix while Miguel Andujar learns to play left field.
Fourth outfielder Mike Tauchman was already expected to see considerable playing time.
But the Yankees have been pleased with Andjuar’s progress; he started at left field again on Saturday, against the Tigers, and fielded the one fly ball hit to him without issue.
At Fort Myers, Frazier ripped a double and delivered a sacrifice fly in the Yankees’ 5-2 win against the Boston Red Sox.
Here at Tampa, Judge had originally been scheduled to take outdoor BP by Sunday. Those plans have changed.
“That’s the biggest thing right now,’’ Boone said. “Trying to get answers.’’