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Yankees didn’t expect Aaron Judge back from rib injury until summer

The wait until Aaron Judge is given a clean bill of health remains. 

On a charity video call Thursday morning, Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman revealed that despite growing optimism regarding the slugger’s return, he never expected Judge to be back in game shape until the “summertime.” 

“I always felt it was more likely that we wouldn’t see Judge until the summertime,” the GM explained as reporters like Brendan Kuty of NJ.com listened in.

Cashman’s appearance on the Zoom call benefited Family Centers’ Emergency Family Assistance Fund, as all proceeds will go to providing financial relief to Fairfield County residents affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Judge was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his first right rib in early-March, an injury believed to date back to a diving catch attempt in September of last season. Pain in Judge’s right shoulder and pectoral muscle was first reported to the team just before Spring Training started.

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It was later revealed Judge had since recovered from a collapsed lung – an additional setback believed to have been sustained on that fateful play in the outfield last fall.

Judge confirmed he had fully recouped from the pneumothorax midway through March.

The right fielder was forced to sit out all of New York’s Grapefruit League schedule, barely participating in Spring Training workouts. Since MLB’s coronavirus-induced shutdown started, shortly after his cracked rib was diagnosed, the star has remained in Tampa rehabbing at the Yankees’ facility.

He was quickly ruled out for Opening Day, but with the season pushed back due to COVID-19, skipper Aaron Boone was “hopeful” the former Rookie of the Year Award winner could be ready.  Evidently this rare injury is on a longer timetable than the organization and fans alike had hoped. Then again, with MLB’s latest proposal calling for an Opening Day on July 1, the GM isn’t completely ruling out Judge’s readiness as his rib continues to heal. 

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