After months of uncertainty surrounding the status of Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, general manager Brian Cashman said on a conference call today that the team is optimistic he’ll be ready for the rescheduled Opening Day (Twitter links via The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler). The Yankees are also optimistic that Giancarlo Stanton will be ready to open the year in the DH slot. Lefty James Paxton is expected to be ready to go as well, and it’s possible that center fielder Aaron Hicks could be game-ready come Opening Day as well.
Judge’s entire injury saga has been bizarrely vague, but it seems an end is at last in sight. It took the club several weeks early in camp to diagnose a stress fracture in his rib, and only two weeks later did the team reveal that Judge was also found to have a collapsed lung. Near the end of March, Boone revealed that Judge’s injuries may have dated all the way back to last September. Even throughout the shutdown, updates on Judge lacked specific timelines and frequently pointed to additional imaging as the next step.
Stanton sustained a calf injury back in Spring Training, and Cashman indicated today that he’s quite specifically referencing a DH-only role with regard to the former NL MVP’s Opening Day readiness. The YES Network’s Jack Curry tweets that the club wants to evaluate Stanton in camp before making any declaration about his ability to play in the outfield.
Paxton is more than four months removed from back surgery and could be game-ready right now, according to Cashman. There’s a bit less certainty regarding Hicks, who is eight months out from last year’s Tommy John surgery. Hicks has already proclaimed himself ready to go for the season opener, though the organization is understandably taking a bit more reserved approach and will use “Summer Camp” (as the league has now termed it) to make its own evaluation.