Aaron Judge showed signs of progress on injuries on Friday, taking part in warm-ups for the first time since tearing the ligament in his toe on June 3 as he crashed through an outside gate from Dodger Stadium.
But the New York Yankees slugger isn’t ready to offer a timeline for his comeback. Neither did General Manager Brian Cashman.
Judge practiced batting at Coors Field as the Yankees warmed up for their first game after the All-Star break against the Colorado Rockies. He also participated in defensive drills which included jogging in the outfield.
It ran without any noticeable limitations. But he told reporters the injury had not healed and he did not know when he would return to play baseball.
“It’s not cured, so that’s obviously what it is,” Judge said, according to MLB.com. “But we’re making progress every day. … I don’t have a date. I don’t have anything for you about it. But you ask how I feel and how we’re progressing, and we’re progressing well and getting closer. “
While the activity was encouraging for Yankees fans, rumors that Judge would be set to return shortly after the All-Star break appear to have been just that — rumors. Cashman confirmed to Newsday’s Laura Albanese that Judge’s return is indeed not imminent.
“He didn’t even have a rehab assignment or run (the) bases,” Cashman told Newsday via text message. “There is no specific date for his return, although it will be in the second half.”
So that’s a mixed bag of news for a Yankees team desperate for an offensive boost as they sat in a last-place tie with the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. The Yankees have been mired in a hitting crisis since Judge’s injury, resulting in the firing of hitting coach Dillon Lawson before the All-Star break. They’ve since replaced him with broadcaster Sean Casey, who hit .302 in 12 MLB seasons that included three All-Star appearances.
Luckily for the Yankees, last place in the highly competitive AL East keeps them in playoff contention. They are 49-43 after Friday’s 7-2 loss to the Rockies, which keeps them 8.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays and, perhaps more importantly, in the heart of the wild card race. .
The sooner that judge returns, the better for the Yankees. Obviously. But for now, his comeback remains a slow work in progress. Even if there are signs of life.
“I didn’t feel like I was restricted at all,” Judge told reporters of his warm-ups. “We are slowly progressing to where we need to be. Now it’s just about getting reps and maybe some stamina and stamina. Being away for five weeks is tough.