Why Aaron Boone is "Optimistic" About Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton Playing on Opening Day

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Ahead of the Yankees' first exhibition game of March, manager Aaron Boone tried his best to be positive about the health of sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

Specifically on Judge, who is set to undergo further testing on his sore right shoulder on Monday, Boone said he was feeling "optimistic."

“I would say I feel a little more optimistic today of where we're at,” Boone told reporters prior to the Yankees’ loss to the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. “It’s just how I’m feeling.”

Judge was administered multiple tests on Friday, including an MRI, in an attempt to identify the source of his discomfort – each test came back negative. That being said, Boone explained the outfielder has had "a lot of eyes and hands on him," speaking about the club's training staff, since the pain coming from his right pectoral area started acting up. 

“He’s doing better today," Boone added. "They worked on him a lot yesterday. So, I mean, I would say we were a little encouraged this morning. But I don’t have much in reality.”

The two-time All-Star had been gradually increasing his volume of throwing and swinging since the discomfort first appeared earlier this spring. Boone confirmed, on behalf of the club's star, that the pain has worsened in the last few days.

READ: Aaron Boone reveals Aaron Judge has undergone multiple tests, unsure when the star will be ready to return.

As for Stanton, his estimated return to game action is up in the air as well. He was recently shut down with a strained right calf. Boone expects the left fielder and designated hitter to begin to enact some light movement into his daily routine shortly.

“I know yesterday was significantly better than the day before just as far as this gait goes," Boone explained to reporters. "He’s walking normal. He had a smile on his face today ... just continuing to feel a little bit better.”

When the Yankees traded for Stanton, joining the club in 2018 just after Judge's historic rookie season, the blueprint was for the two sluggers to wreak havoc offensively side by side in the lineup. Two seasons have passed and the two haven't played in nearly as many games as the organization has hoped.

Boone isn't panicking about 2020 being a third-consecutive injury-plagued campaign for this talented duo just yet. The level-headed skipper is remaining hopeful and confident that both power hitters will be healthy prior to Opening Day (or at least shortly after).

“I'm very optimistic on both Aaron and Giancarlo not being long-term things,” Boone said to reporters. “I feel good about the prognosis of things, even though in the immediate [situation], because of what has happened and what went on last year, the flames get a little fanned.” 

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