Tag: Not This Again

Aaron Judge’s Bone Healing, Collapsed Lung (!) Healed

Can you believe it was just two weeks ago today that we found out about Aaron Judge’s injury? It feels like a lifetime ago. In some ways it was, really. For those of us who may have forgotten, we learned that Judge had a stress fracture in his rib that may or may not require surgery to fix. This was the play on which the injury occurred, all the way back in September:

The short-term prognosis was for Judge to take it easy and see if the bone healed on its own. The last real update came a few days ago. Bryan Hoch reported that Judge, who is incapable of “taking it easy”, was “aggressively pushing it” in workouts because he felt better.

All of this serves as a precursor for today’s update. It was an interesting one to say the least. First, let’s start with the good news, via Kristie Ackert of the Daily News:

The test looked good! The bone has shown healing! He won’t need surgery because of the delay! I love silver linings! The previously undisclosed issue with his lung has healed! This is all pretty good stuff, right?

[Taps mic] What’s that? A “previously undisclosed issue with his lung?” That’s a new one! Fortunately, Judge was right there to clarify this right away, so we have more clarity. Again, via Ackert:

Ah, a collapsed lung. A collapsed lung! That is a very serious medical issue, though its severity depends on a number of factors that we don’t quite have available to us, obviously. The long and short of it, though, is that lungs help us breath and breathing is very important. Not sure about you guys, but I prefer it when anyone, let alone my favorite baseball team’s best player, has fully functioning lungs. The good news, via Bryan Hoch, is that it is “completely gone”:

All in all, there are many questions here. For instance, one might reasonably ask for how long the lung was collapsed? Did it occur on that play highlighted above? If it did, why didn’t the Yankees catch it in September or even October, after the season? And on and on and on. We all know the drill by now, unfortunately. Judge’s small shoulder concern at the start of camp turned into a broken rib and also, a collapsed lung, as a treat. (Still, even with all of this still out there, it’s obviously very good that Judge’s lung is back to normal. This is genuinely good news.)

Finally, I think we should all take steps to look on the bright side. After all, regular American life is falling apart all around us and baseball is gone. The bright side here, obviously, is that there is some sense of normalcy after all. Even amid a crushing pandemic currently gripping the nation, the Yankees can still shock us with a bizarre, completely unforeseen injury escalation to a vital player. So we have that going for us, which is nice.

Aaron Judge Has Stress Fracture in Rib; May Need Surgery

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.

Giancarlo Stanton Shut Down with Grade 1 Calf Strain, May Miss Opening Day (Updated)

Folks, you just cannot make this up. Another year, another day, another injury for the Yankees. This time, it’s Giancarlo Stanton, who apparently has a Grade 1 calf strain, according to Aaron Boone. The injury occurred yesterday after defensive drills and he got an MRI today that found the strain. The 30-year-old slugger, who can opt-out after this season, will most likely miss Opening Day due to this injury.

Just last week, in his season preview, Derek noted that health was a key factor for Stanton. He played in more than 300 games across 2017 and 2018, but appeared in only 18 games last season. Hopefully this is just a blip in the radar, but he is obviously starting 2020 off on the wrong foot. The 2019 season is the season that just isn’t going to go away, apparently. The new team is the same as the old team.

Once again, we’ll have more thoughts on this in a bit. Until then, I leave you with this: I hate it!

UPDATE (6:35 pm): *Deep breath.* Okay, so obviously this injury, as far as these things go, isn’t all that bad. It’s just a calf strain and it will only cost Stanton a few weeks of Grapefruit League playing time. It could be much worse, as we saw just yesterday. Still, there is some impact here. Let’s get right into that.

1. It Kinda Just Sucks for Stanton: Am I allowed to feel bad for Giancarlo? Because I really do. I mean, “Ellsbury” is currently trending on Twitter in New York, and it’s not because of any news related to everyone’s favorite pinstriped punching bag. Last year had to be an incredibly disappointing and frustrating for Giancarlo on a personal level. I mean, let’s go through his injuries since the start of the 2019 campaign:

  • April ’19: bicep strain
  • April ’19: “balky” left shoulder
  • May ’19: left calf strain
  • June ’19: PCL strain in right knee
  • October ’19: right quad strain

And now this. Health is a skill and it is not a skill that Giancarlo has demonstrated recently. Like I said above, he played in over 300 games in 2017 and 18 but has struggled with injuries since. It is very frustrating for us as fans and I don’t think we can process how frustrating it must be for a player. I was hoping – both for his sake and for the team’s – that he would be healthy all season and quiet his loud base of dissenters. Alas, it was not to be. (Yet, at least.)

He’ll likely miss some regular season time, though hopefully not too much. On the bright side, if there’s a “good” time to go down with an injury like this, it’s right now. He should only miss a few weeks of the season, at most.

2. Outfield Depth Chart: This will obviously impact the Yankees’ already-think outfield depth. Here’s how I think things shake out in terms of the depth chart:

  1. Aaron Judge
  2. Brett Gardner
  3. Mike Tauchman
  4. Clint Frazier

It’s important to remember that Miguel Andújar has also been taking reps in the outfield – he did so today! – so he will factor in here as well. In fact, it may make the most sense for him to rotate in left field and DH in the first few weeks of the season, as there will certainly be reps there for him now.

The injury to Stanton may even be enough to vault Clint Frazier out of the Triple-A quagmire in which he perpetually finds himself. It’s certainly possible. I thought before camp really got going that they’d take four outfielders out of camp with them to Baltimore, and I still do. That leaves room for Frazier, which is good for him. Regrettably, there is yet another Spring Training competition to follow now. I’m getting sick of the injuries already, everyone.

3. New Training Staff: Finally, I think this Stanton injury is the first real test for the new training apparatus. The Yanks brought on Eric Cressey after last year’s frustrating campaign to overhaul this sort of thing and this is the first time they’ll have a chance to do so. Both the Severino and Paxton injuries were preexisting and there wasn’t anything you could do. A muscle strain, though, is very different. Muscle strains where the bane of the Yankees’ existence last year, to the point that it felt like something in the organization was broken.

I’m curious to see how this goes. The injury list last year for Stanton in particular was a source of major frustration for fans and the team. Things kept metastasizing and getting worse in rehab, with one injury following another. It’s why fans are so overwhelmingly pessimistic about Stanton now. In a vacuum, this injury isn’t that big of a deal, but life doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It is only fair to be skeptical and worried at this point, especially given recent history.

Cressey was presumably brought on to stop all of that from happening again. He has a test case now and hopefully they can put this all to bed. I’m sick of it and I’m sick of the “[two weeks from now] Yankees announce Giancarlo’s leg has been amputated” jokes we see on Twitter. So let’s all hope that Giancarlo has a nice, easy and smooth rehab. And that Aaron Judge’s shoulder injury really is just a minor issue. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself. The trauma is real.)

Report: Luis Severino Shut Down Due to “Forearm Tightness”

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2019 is dead; long live 2019. According to the latest reports, Luis Severino is hurt. For the second straight year, the injury came before he threw a single pitch in Spring Training. This time on his birthday no less! I do not like it. Severino has “forearm tightness” that dates back at least to last year’s ALCS. (For what it’s worth, he was cleared to start Game 7 of the ALCS had it occurred. The tests were clean.) As such, the team is shutting him down for a few days. He will visit team doctor Chris Ahmad tomorrow and take anti-inflammatories in the interim. (Update, 2:45pm: Maybe he won’t? Or maybe he will? Nobody knows!)

We don’t know a whole lot about this yet, but we do know that he will likely not be ready for Opening Day. That’s just five weeks away now! Shutting Severino down now is a fairly significant setback for the 26-year-old. It’s possible, of course, but it will all need to break right now. The Yankees, for their part, are neither optimistic or pessimistic, with Brian Cashman telling reporters that it is “unknown if this is going to be a significant issue.” Aaron Boone is “concerned.” As am I!

If you want to be positive, Severino has undergone several tests already, with multiple MRIs showing nothing. That is the good news. The bad news is that the discomfort has not gone away and it has been several months now. It apparently occurs when he throws his changeup. That’s what happened yesterday and the pain persisted into this morning. Gah.

I’m an optimist by nature, especially with Severino, but I’ll be honest: I’m having a tough time feeling optimistic about this one. It sounds like bad news and I am very sad about it.

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