Aaron Judge has been out since July 26 thanks to a chipped bone in his right wrist. More than a month later, the New York Yankees finally signaled some serious concern for the injury, as they acquired Andrew McCutchen Thursday night. That deal almost certainly means the Yankees are aware Judge may not return for a while.
After being diagnosed with the wrist injury, most felt Judge would be swinging a bat in three weeks and ready to return in six. It’s now more than five weeks later and he has yet to pick up a bat. The wrist is still fractured, Judge is still having pain in it and there’s no way to know if it will get any better during the stretch run. It wouldn’t be shocking at this point if he was shut down for the rest of the season.
It would be the height of stupidity for the Yankees to bring their 26-year-old star back from the disabled list before he’s fully healed, but some are suggesting they’re considering just that. Wrist injuries are no joke for baseball players and can linger for years. Given the strength with which Judge swings a bat, the Bombers must let him heal fully or they could risk something catastrophic.
The Yankees enter Friday 4.5 games up in the Wild Card race. They are 8.5 down in the American League East, with virtually no chance of catching the Boston Red Sox. There’s no urgency for Judge to rush back.
In 99 games this season, Judge was hitting .285 with 26 home runs, 61 RBI and an OPS of .946. His OPS ranked seventh in all of baseball and his fWAR of 5.0 ranked 10th.
He’s obviously a huge missing piece to the Yankees’ postseason puzzle. But it’s fair at this point to question whether he’ll actually be healed before the playoffs begin.
The Yankees took out an insurance policy on Judge’s wrist Thursday night by trading for McCutchen. They clearly know their big slugger is not close to returning.