Trouble keeps piling up for the Yankees.
General manager Brian Cashman told reporters on Tuesday morning that star outfielder Aaron Judge is “unlikely” to be ready for Opening Day (h/t Brendan Kuty, NJ.com).
Judge was shut down a week before spring training after experiencing soreness in his shoulder where he underwent an MRI and further tests as recently as Monday. Cashman added that Judge will undergo further testing Tuesday.
The Yankees’ nightmare spring training continues as key contributors continue to go down.
Judge’s bash brother, Giancarlo Stanton, is also doubtful to be ready for Opening Day while he deals with a calf strain. Meanwhile, the Bronx Bombers will continue to be without Aaron Hicks, who will miss a major chunk of the 2020 season while he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Then there is the Yankees’ pitching staff, which will be without James Paxton for two-to-three months and Luis Severino for the entire season.
As for Judge, though, his personal run of injury issues continues to raise red flags.
Over the last two seasons, he missed a combined 110 games while dealing with a fractured wrist in 2018 along with oblique and shoulder issues last year.
It has thrown a major wrench in his ascendency as the next great Yankee following his historic rookie season in 2017 when he hit 52 home runs and drove in 114 runs.
Combine his last two seasons and he has 54 home runs and 122 RBI.
His 162-game averages (41 HR, 93 RBI) are still impressive, but flirting with a full season of play has been difficult as of late. That could affect his future in Pinstripes.
While he’s under team control through 2022 thanks to arbitration, an inability to stay healthy could make the Yankees reluctant to dole out a massive contract to keep him in the Bronx when unrestricted free agency finally comes around in a few years.
Granted, there’s still plenty of time to get right and prove that he can be the consistent, dependable slugger he was billed to be during his rookie season. But a third-straight year of spending time on the injured list will only magnify concerns.