New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is no closer to a return one full month into his recovery from a chip fracture in his right wrist.
According to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, Judge has yet to even resume swinging a bat after being hit by a pitch from Kansas City right-hander Jacob Junis on July 26. Boone added that the Yankees have “stopped guessing” when Judge might be ready to take the next step in his recovery.
Aaron Judge (right wrist fracture) has not resumed swinging a bat. Aaron Boone said that he is "optimistic that it will happen at some point, but when that is, we've stopped guessing on that."
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) August 24, 2018
What was the original outlook for Aaron Judge’s recovery?
After the initial diagnosis, the Yankees projected a three-to-four week recovery time for Judge. General manager Brian Cashman backed that up last week, telling WFAN’s Mike Francesa “We thought maybe three weeks would cover it, but it’s going to be longer than that.”
Now four weeks into his recovery, Judge is admittedly still feeling discomfort in his wrist. That indicates the recovery could extend well into September.
Boone said Judge is still feeling some pain in the wrist and isn’t quite ready to start swinging a bat
— Erik Boland (@eboland11) August 24, 2018
How have the Yankees fared without Aaron Judge?
Entering play on Friday, the Yankees were 14-10 since Judge went on the disabled list. Despite a strong surge from the Oakland Athletics, New York maintains a solid four-game lead for the top AL wild card spot. They’ve lost significant ground in the AL East though, going from 4 1/2 to 9 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
During that time, the Yankees have also been without Gary Sanchez, which further weakened the lineup. Now they’re without Didi Gregorius too, and closer Aroldis Chapman hit the disabled list this week with knee discomfort.
Who’s stepped up to replace Aaron Judge’s production?
Neil Walker, who was signed this winter for infield depth, has done a fair job replacing Judge in right field. Since Judge hit the DL, Walker has drawn several starts in the outfield and has produced decent numbers, hitting .269/.346/.478 with four homers and 13 RBI.
Of course, that’s still a long way from Judge’s production. Through 99 games this season, Judge is batting .285 with a .947 OPS. He’s sitting on 26 homers after hitting a rookie-record 52 last season.
Given the latest update, the Yankees will no doubt take the slow and cautious route with Judge. As much as they could use him in the lineup now, they need him one-hundred percent for the stretch run and a potential postseason run.
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