Yankees’ biggest threat to 2020 success is their training staff

Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The largest roadblock standing in the way of the New York Yankees and their 28th World Series championship may not be an opposing star player or team.

It may come in the form of their own training staff.

The Yankees received more bad news on Friday when it was revealed that Aaron Judge has a stress fracture in his right rib — an injury that was suffered in September.

Not spring training, not offseason workouts, but while diving for a ball during the end of last season against the Los Angeles Angels.

Judge knew something was wrong, telling team trainers at the time that he heard a “pop” and a “crack.” Yet they could not find the broken bone.

Boone tried to play damage control by saying it was a difficult injury for the training staff to find, but Judge’s words should have been a large enough red flag to leave no stone unturned in their exploratory research.

Judge is all but certain to miss Opening Day, though the Yankees said that the slugger will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

For a broken bone that hasn’t properly healed in five months, an extra two weeks probably won’t do much. So it’s natural to think Judge will be out for a considerable amount of time during the regular season.

This is just the latest example during this spring training of the Yankees’ medical staff bungling an injury concerning a notable player that dated back to last season.

Southpaw James Paxton had back surgery in early February for an issue that dated back to last season. He could miss at least the first two months of the season.

The largest blow to the starting rotation, though, came when the Yankees announced Luis Severino would need season-ending Tommy John surgery less than two weeks ago.

General manager Brian Cashman admitted that the issue stemmed from discomfort felt by the young righty during last year’s ALCS against the Houston Astros.

Yet an offseason MRI and CT scan somehow came back clear, leading to Severino feeling discomfort in his throwing shoulder during spring training. That was the beginning of the end of his 2020 season.

Three key players now out because of a training staff’s inability to properly identify problems that have led to avoidable absences. That won’t do much for their job security any time soon. Especially after last season’s nightmarish, never-ending parade of maladies that saw 30 players shelved on the injured list.

Like some horrid infomercial for the Bronx faithful, there’s more.

Giancarlo Stanton’s string of injuries continued this spring as he’s doubtful for Opening Day with a calf strain. This came after a 2019 season in which he was limited to just 18 games because of biceps, shoulder, knee, and quad issues.

Starting center fielder Aaron Hicks is also on his way back from Tommy John surgery underwent in October.

On Saturday, the Yankees also announced that catcher Gary Sanchez is day-to-day because of back soreness.

Boone attempted to ease concerns by saying it wasn’t a big deal. But given the track record of this training staff, who is to say the issue isn’t worse than it seems?