As time off stretches to three weeks, Aaron Judge feeling frustration

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Thursday, August 16, 2018

NEW YORK -- As his injured wrist continues healing slower than doctors originally thought, Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said Thursday that he hates still being away from the field and out of the lineup.

"I'm not frustrated with the pace [of the healing]. I'm frustrated with being out," Judge said.

The outfielder has been out of action for exactly three weeks. He suffered a chip fracture in his right wrist when a 94 mph fastball hit him July 26.

Hours after Judge suffered the injury, the Yankees announced an approximate three-week recovery period. On Wednesday, general manager Brian Cashman told WFAN 101.9 FM's Mike Francesa that timeline may have been a bit too optimistic.

"We thought maybe three weeks would cover it, but it's going to be longer than that," Cashman said. "So we missed on the time frame."

Cashman also said Judge received a cortisone shot Monday.

"It's something they said that I might have to do at some point," Judge said. "But we didn't want to rush into doing the shot. We wanted to see how it would heal up and how everything would feel without it."

Judge said the shot was injected as he's "just kind of getting over the hump" in this later stage of his recovery.

Across parts of the past two weeks, Judge has slowly eased into baseball activities. Before Wednesday's game at Yankee Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rays, he was running bases and reading fly balls and ground balls in right field. With his right hand, he was throwing the balls he fielded back toward a bucket that was positioned near him in the outfield. After that, he took a few swings under water without a bat.

He still has yet to swing on dry land with a bat in his hands.

"I would say [Wednesday] was a big step forward for him in some of the things he was able to do," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "So hopefully bat in hand soon to follow, and then we can progress pretty quickly from there, I would imagine."

Judge, who spoke to reporters as the sound of the late Aretha Franklin's voice echoed through speakers in the Yankees' clubhouse, said the cortisone shot had been helping his wrist. Judge had turned on a Franklin playlist minutes after learning of her death as he drove to the ballpark Thursday morning. Judge said his mother was a big fan of the singer.

Until he can get back on the field, Judge is trying to remain patient.

"I've got a broken bone. It's still fractured. I've got to give it time to heal," he said. "Just got to make sure I'm 100 percent before I got back out there because I don't want to have a setback."

In the meantime, he will continue his role as cheerleader.

"I've just got to keep myself busy during the games and try to do anything I can to help the team," Judge said. "Even though I'm not out there playing, I want to try to do stuff to help the team win, if that's either talking to a guy, motivating a guy or saying a little something, pick someone up, just trying to keep myself busy."