Aaron Judge Doubtful for 2020 Opening Day amid Shoulder Injury, Says Yankees GM

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 3, 2020

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge runs on the field during a spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge is not expected to be ready for Opening Day on March 26, general manager Brian Cashman revealed Tuesday.

"I don't see him ready by Opening Day because of the time frame," Cashman said, per MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "It's three-and-a-half weeks. There's just the healing and then having to have a spring training."

Cashman did, however, add that Judge is "feeling better," per ESPN.

"He feels it more now in the pec," Cashman noted. "It's moved down toward the pec. We're just trying to figure it out and determine what's bothering him. In the meantime, I can just tell you he is feeling better in the last 48 hours."

ESPN's Buster Olney learned that Judge has "turned the corner in his rehab."

The two-time All-Star led the American League in home runs (52) and runs (128) in 2017, winning the Rookie of the Year award and finishing second to Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve in the AL MVP race.

He hit 27 home runs in each of his next two seasons, both of which were cut short by injuries.

In 2018, Kansas City Royals right-handed pitcher Jakob Junis hit Judge in the right wrist with a fastball, fracturing his ulnar styloid bone. Judge missed 50 games that year.

An oblique strain suffered in April 2019 was the primary catalyst that forced Judge off the field last season. He was sidelined for 60 contests overall.

At his best, Judge is one of the sport's best power hitters. He also has a rocket arm, notably finishing tied for 10th in outfield assists in 2018 despite missing nearly two months of action.

Mike Tauchman figures to replace Judge in the lineup. The 29-year-old was an integral part of the 2019 Yankees, who suffered a litany of injuries in their batting order and pitching staff.

He hit .277 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI in 260 at-bats. 

The Yankees will lose power sans Judge, but the team still has plenty of home run-hitting talent, including Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres.

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