As fun as the 2019 season was, I’d really like to leave it in the past. That does not seem to be possible, though, as yet another Yankee is still dealing with an injury suffered last season. This time, it’s Aaron Judge, who has a stress fracture in his first right rib (Erik Boland). Aaron Boone told the media that Judge will rest for two weeks and then be re-evaluated. At that point, the Yankees will have to consider whether or not he needs surgery. That would mean removing the rib. (Rustin Dodd) Seems bad!
So that does explain why Judge was feeling overall discomfort in the right side of his body. It also explains why examinations of the shoulder and pectoral muscle came up empty. That is about where the explanations end, though. This is a confounding and frustrating injury for Aaron Judge.
First, the team believes that it occurred on a “dive” in September 2019. It’s pretty obvious what play it was just from basic recall: it was almost certainly this one, which occurred on September 18. Check it out:
It’s clear that Judge was in a massive amount of pain following this play. This did not go unnoticed at the time. Says Dan Martin of the Post: “[he] spent the rest of the inning stretching and tending to the arm, although he stayed in the game, grounding out twice the rest of the way. Aaron Boone said he was hopeful Judge was fine.” Oof. I remember it well.
For what it’s worth, if the injury occurred then, it certainly didn’t hamper Judge’s production. He hit .320/.393/.840 with 3 HR in the final 28 plate appearances of the season. He was also, as you surely recall, quite good in the playoff run.
This all very frustrating. September was six months ago now and Aaron Judge is the most important player on the Yankees. I’m no doctor and won’t play one, but it is very frustrating that this was not identified earlier. Oh well, I guess. What can we do? Surgery to remove a rib would likely mean that Judge would miss months, if not the entire season. Seems like our best bet at this point is to hope it doesn’t come to that. Ugh.