Yankees' Aaron Judge Still Sidelined With Stiff Neck, Takes 'Good Step' Forward

Max Goodman

NEW YORK – When the Yankees' star-studded group of outfielders emerged from the first-base dugout on Monday afternoon, beginning to stretch as a unit down the right-field line, something wasn't right.

Brett Gardner was there. So was Giancarlo Stanton. Even Clint Frazier was among the crew of outfielders, continuing to work through his plantar fasciitis. 

Aaron Judge, however, was nowhere to be found. Not only was Judge absent during Monday's fielding drills, but he didn't make an appearance in batting practice either. It marked the third-consecutive workout at Yankees' Summer Camp that New York's slugger has been sidelined.

This comes after Judge was a last-second scratch from an intrasquad game on Saturday afternoon with what Aaron Boone called a "stiff neck."

"Good step for him today, so we'll see if he's in there tomorrow or not," Boone said, explaining Judge had taken some swings in the indoor batting cages and worked out in the weight room. "He's still gotta get a little more improvement in there but we'll see how he's doing tomorrow. Pretty good day overall."

READ: Yankees' ace Gerrit Cole fans nine in second intrasquad, positions himself for Opening Day on July 23

Judge had said he was "game ready" last week, revealing his body felt in great condition as he continues to recover from a cracked right rib that kept him off the field for the duration of Spring Training. After participating in all of Summer Camp through last Thursday, Judge slept on his neck a "little weird" – as Boone put it – keeping him out of the lineup two days later. 

"I feel that he's gotten much more range of motion and [the training staff has] gotten a lot of that pain out of there when he turns to the side and things like that," Boone clarified, giving some encouragement as uncertainty regarding his right fielder mounts. "Quite a bit better today."

READ: Yankees' prospect Estevan Florial could be called upon to contribute in 2020

Bumps and bruises happen to all professional athletes, but any type of injury news for Judge – no matter how minor – is reason for concern. The slugger played in just 102 games last season and 112 contests the year before that, both due to an assortment of injuries.

His skipper isn't worried that Judge's physical history is any sort of concerning pattern. In fact, once Judge can move past a sequence of "fluky" injuries, Boone believes his star outfielder will prove he's as durable a ballplayer as any.

"I do think he's smart about how he takes care of himself," Boone said. "I feel comfortable with the work he does, what he puts in to making sure he takes care of himself. He understands the importance of it. Time will tell but I do feel it'll prove out that he's a durable guy. I do feel that way."

In addition to the Bombers' All-Star slugger, one of the Yankees' standouts from Grapefruit League play before MLB's coronavirus shutdown is also on the shelf with an injury. 

Utilityman Rosell Herrera is dealing with pain in both heels, the Yankees' skipper disclosed. That's why Herrera has been absent as well since New York's intrasquad on Thursday.

"He's dealing with some heel issues," Boone explained. "Both heels were starting to give him a little bit of a problem in Spring Training. He's just physically unable to go right now."

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