Yankees' manager Aaron Boone provided some promising updates on the status of New York's two injured sluggers on Monday.
When it comes to Giancarlo Stanton – who sustained a Grade 1 right calf strain in fielding drills late last month – there's nothing but good news to report.
If there were Spring Training games to be played early this week – and the novel coronavirus pandemic hadn't forced MLB to suspend spring exhibition contests and postpone Opening Day – Boone confirmed that Stanton would be "ready to go."
"He's been doing really well, hitting now for a few weeks," Boone told YES Network's Meredith Marakovits on Monday. "Running pretty much at full speed outside and changing directions and doing all the things necessary to get into a game. He's good and that's the one silver lining – the chance for guys to get healed up through this time."
Stanton had been ruled out for Opening Day weeks ago. The coronavirus-induced hiatus, however, has opened the door for the slugger to recover with more than enough time before the regular season's opener.
Further, the skipper expanded upon last week's re-evaluation on Aaron Judge and the stress fracture in his first right rib.
He reassured that the right fielder's pneumothorax – collapsed lung – is healed and that "hopefully" Judge will be available by the time baseball resumes in the coming months.
“It’s just making sure that was healed, because that’s when you have the concerns of flying,” Boone explained. “He’s healed in that regard and hopefully now, obviously again this is hopefully a time where he can get that proper rest to allow that rib to heal properly. Hopefully when it’s time to play ball again, Aaron is with us.”
Judge will undergo an additional CT scan in two weeks. Should surgery not be necessary, and the bone continue to heal as it has been, it's feasible that Judge could suit up when New York takes the field for the first time this season.
Both Judge and Stanton dealt with injuries this past season. In 2019, Stanton played in just 18 contests while Judge was limited to 102.
At this point there is still no definitive date for when the regular season will begin. MLB postponed Opening Day for eight weeks, in accordance with guidance from the CDC, but Boone's optimism hasn't wavered.
In a video message to fans posted on the Yankees' Twitter page, he advised to "stay strong together" as it's "not going to be too long" before games begin again.
In the meantime, from the comfort of his home in suburban Connecticut, Boone said he and his family have passed the time by bingeing television shows, working out indoors, cooking together and more. He revealed that he's been in daily communication with a group of executives within the organization that are still in Tampa.
Boone also took time on Sunday to visit one of his newest neighbors, Gerrit Cole and his wife Amy, filming the couple playing catch on their front lawn.
The extra free time is bittersweet, however, as the original 2020 schedule had Thursday penciled in as Opening Day. Instead of preparing to travel down to Baltimore to take on the Orioles, Boone is putting it all into perspective.
“We’re all bummed, especially with Opening Day coming up,” Boone said. “We’re getting close to that point, and all that goes into that, to have that pulled out from under you is difficult. We also understand this is way bigger than baseball, it’s bigger than all of us. It’s incumbent on all of us to do our part right now and try to get baseball back to us sooner rather than later.”
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