Until Further Notice Judge Is Not The Face

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

“I don’t see him ready for Opening Day because of the time frame.” 

So what is wrong with Aaron Judge? What is the status of Giancarlo Staton. We do know, Yankees GM Brian Cashman provided the update about Judge

The Yankees highest player on the payroll, Stanton, is another situation and updates about his Grade-1 hamstring are not different when it comes to the slugger resuming baseball activities.

We do know this, the sluggers of this Yankees team and both on the shelf again.  Judge, and this continued discomfort of a right pectoral muscle is the latest setback and more of a concern.

You see it is simple. Just a few years ago, 2017, Aaron Judge burst on the scene and was the face of the Yankees and Major League Baseball. He could do nothing wrong on the field. Home runs the following year, rookie home run record and the gun of an arm out in right field.

And Aaron Judge won the Home Run Derby. He became that face.

And if anything is different, with Judge and Stanton, make this a headline. Hey, by the way, the Yankees will survive. They did last year with a MLB record 31 players coming and going off the injured list. 

But the focus is on Aaron Judge, still considered the face for the Yankees, however, to be the best player in baseball or the face of the Yankees, you need to be on the field. 

Staying on the field and remaining healthy is that recurring issue for Aaron Judge. 

This is not to say that Aaron Judge, more than Stsnton, will continue to be that face.  He is young enough to overcome, 27- in mid April. 

But that patience is running thin for the Yankees and  It has to be towards their slugger, a marketing tool also. 

The Judge’s Chambers in lower right field at Yankees Stadium did not see many fans in those seats last year.

A part of that marketing is also opening the gates early in the Bronx so fans can see Aaron Judge deposit balls in the outfield seats during batting practice.  

What we do know, as of Tuesday, the Yankees are prepared with an early season contingency plan. 

Miguel Andujar is getting looks in left field. Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner, all projected to be in the outfield mix with Stanton also not expected back anytime soon.

“We certainly have a  number of different people that are more than capable,” Cassman said about the opening Day roster. “Hopefully we’ve got all those choices in play by the time we’re putting lineups together.”

And Yankees fans, manager Aaron Boone, want to see a healthy Aaron Judge in the lineup. They want to see multi- home run games. They would rather see him as the difference maker.

The 128 runs in 2017, most by a major league rookie since Mike Trout in 2012, that’s what is expected. But, there is one Mike Trout. He avoids the injured list and to many is that face. 

So what is wrong with Aaron Judge? Ask the baseball experts because the Yankees will only update his medical condition and a projected return as Opening Day closes in.

Too much stress on tight muscles from working out? 

“Other than physical training, I’m beginning to think these injuries are akin to pitchers throwing too hard and these guys are always swinging for a 450- foot home run,” said a longtime AL scout.

By the way, that’s a scout who has been around 40 years. He said, the game has changed. No surprise,because Mickey Mantle and the other great home run hitters of the past had a different training routine.

Judge, as with all ballplayers, have made this a year round job. Weights and conditioning do play a major role.

“I’d rather be dealing with it right now than having it bleed deep in or cause significant time in season,” Cashman said.

And he hopes that is also a limited time for Stanton.

Yes, the Yankees will survive this. They will also get by without Luis Severino, Aaron Hicks.  James Paxton, for a limited time will return to the starting rotation. 

They expect Domingo German back in the rotation come mid -June when he completes his MLB domestic violence suspension. 

But they need the face of their franchise, Aaron Judge. Until further review,  when Judge is healthy and injury free, he is not the face of baseball or the Yankees. 

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