Yankees' Aaron Judge hopes to return before wrist fully heals

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

NEW YORK -- A day after ramping up his baseball activities, injured New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said Tuesday that he may be able to return to action before the chip fracture in his right wrist fully heals.

"That's what I've heard is you can play with it, because I don't need surgery, I don't need anything like that," Judge said before the Yankees' 5-4 walk-off win over the White Sox. "I can play with it before it actually fully heals. It's just getting that pain down to zero."

Pain tolerance has been a key part of Judge's recovery from the injury that he received when he was hit by a pitch on July 26. After the swelling subsided, doctors and trainers have wanted to see how well Judge can fully test the wrist's range of motion without it bothering him.

He has yet to pass those tests.

Judge said his wrist remains both sensitive to the touch and painful when he tries to test its flexibility. Because of that, he still hasn't thrown at full intensity, and he also hasn't swung a bat since being injured.

"It's still broken," Judge said.

Once the pain subsides, Judge will begin swinging, even if the bone itself isn't completely healed. At that point, the Yankees contend it won't be long until he's able to get back into the everyday lineup. But it remains anyone's guess exactly when that will be.

Atlanta's Freddie Freeman is one recent example of a player who returned from a wrist injury despite being less than 100 percent. About a month after he came back to the Braves' batting order from a seven-week absence last season, Freeman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his wrist was probably feeling about "80-85 percent," adding that was "good enough in my eyes."

Despite originally being given an approximate three-week recovery period, Judge is nearing the five-week point. Still, as the days go by, he can tell he is progressing.

"The pain's going down. If it was a five [on a scale] two weeks ago, it's going down to a four," Judge said. "It's just kind of working its way down. We're just trying to get to zero so we can move forward.

"I'll wake up one of these days and feel good. Just waiting for that day."