NEW YORK — After being sidelined for close to two weeks, working back from a right calf strain, Aaron Judge suffered a reoccurrence in the same muscle during his first game back from the injured list.
When addressing the health of the Yankees' hobbled superstar, general manager Brian Cashman didn't sugarcoat how all parties involved handled his rehabilitation process.
"We call that a failed rehab," Cashman said on Saturday. "And usually when you have a failed rehab, you do double the time."
Judge was first placed on the injured list on Aug. 14, retroactive to two days prior when he sat out for the first time in 2020 after appearing in New York's first 17 games. Therefore, considering he spent 11 days on the IL before his return on Thursday, Judge could be at risk of spending the next three-plus weeks on the shelf. And that's without factoring in any potential setbacks.
If Cashman's prediction of doubling his previous stint turns out to be a reality, 22 days from this past Friday—when No. 99 officially returned to the 10-day—would put the Yankees just over one week from the final day of the regular season.
How could something like this happen?
"Essentially he reinjured his calf on his first day back out. I know that the calf injury he suffered, there's multiple different muscles within the calf, and the one that he had strained is a tricky one," Cashman explained. "It's the soleus I believe is what it's called and that does have more susceptibility to reoccurrence."
That's why even after Judge went through his "return to play protocols" and was poised to stay healthy upon his return, the 6-foot-7 slugger couldn't avoid aggravating the same muscle in his first taste of in-game action.
While it's no excuse, having no real rehab games was a part of the setback as well.
"Now he's live and it's a real game and he's reacting in real time," Cashman said. "It's now actually reacting to ball off bat, you're reacting to how you are on the base paths and in the batter's box and unfortunately it did not hold up."
Cashman explained three doctors had examined Judge, all agreeing on the initial two-week timetable. Now, the Yankees' GM has no specific time frame for when Judge will be back in pinstripes.
"Unfortunately we ran into it and at least he was vocal about it and shared the information with us," Cashman said. "I don't have a prediction of the time frame but [double the rehab] is a fair assessment to put out there and make sure people don't have earlier hopes, including our player."
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