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Aaron Judge Targeting Yankees' Opening Day Despite Injuries, Waiting on Tests

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 5, 2020

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge runs during a spring training baseball workout Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is not ruling out being ready for Opening Day despite the fact that he has yet to appear in a spring training game. 

According to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, Judge said being in the Opening Day lineup is still possible despite his shoulder and pectoral injuries since he only needs around 30 at-bats. However, he noted answers are required with regard to what is causing his discomfort.

Per Rustin Dodd of The Athletic, Judge said that more tests are planned: "Quite a few of the tests are coming back clean, so we're just trying to figure out what's going on."

With regard to being ready for Opening Day, Judge told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News:

"The goal is always about being ready for Opening Day. I've got plenty of time for that. If I don't get [at-bats in major league camp], I can go across the street [minor league facility] to get those at-bats. But I'm gonna get answers first, and that's the biggest thing is good answers and we can talk about that."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters this week that Judge would likely miss the start of the regular season due to an injured right pectoral muscle. The injury has lingered since the team's first full squad workout on Feb. 18. 

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Cashman also noted Giancarlo Stanton would likely be unavailable for Opening Day while recovering from a strained calf. 

Judge's current status is worrisome given his injury history. The two-time All-Star suffered a fractured wrist in 2018 when he was hit by a pitch from Kansas City Royals starter Jakob Junis. He missed 60 games last season due in large part to a strained oblique. 

New York has already dealt with a series of significant injuries since the start of spring training. Luis Severino is having Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2020. James Paxton will be out until at least May after having spinal surgery to remove a peridiscal cyst. 

The Yankees were plagued by injuries last season but still managed to win the American League East with 103 victories. They still boast a deep roster with stars like Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela able to pick up the slack in Judge's absence provided he isn't ready for Opening Day.

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