The New York Yankees’ star slugger Aaron Judge hopes to stay off the injury list and contribute to an already impressive Yankees offense this season. With a lineup consisting of 2020 AL MVP runner-up DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleybor Torres and Luke Voit, Judge and the Yankees will hope to continue dominating the American League with the longball.
Judge Looks to Put Injuries Behind
Aaron Judge has struggled with injuries after winning National League Rookie of the Year in 2017. Since his record-breaking season, Judge has played in 142 games out of 384 games in the past three seasons. He has only played in 28 of 60 games in last year’s shortened season.
In 2018, Kansas City Royals Pitcher Jacob Junis hit Judge with a 93 mph fastball on the left wrist. The MRI revealed that Judge fractured a bone in his wrist and although surgery was not required, the injury kept Judge out of the lineup for almost two months.
In 2019, Judge was only able to play 20 games before getting hurt. Facing the Royals once again, Judge suffered an oblique strain on a single in the sixth inning. The injury kept him out for another two months, returning in the middle of June.
Starting the 2020 season with six home runs in five games, it looked as though the Yankees were the favorites to win the World Series. But on August 14, Judge was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right calf strain. Returning to the field 12-days later, Judge ran into more trouble. He strained the same calf again, putting him back on the 10-day injury list.
The injuries may have cost Judge the opportunities for an MVP season. However, Judge said it his job to put the injuries behind him and move on.
Yankees Looking Forward to 2021 Season
Questions arose from another early exit for the Yankees in the ALDS in 2020. They were knocked out by the Rays in five games. Besides Gerrit Cole, the team needed to address starting pitching in the offseason. Additionally, fans were wondering whether LeMahieu would resign with New York or test free agency in the offseason.
The Yankees answered these questions and made big-time moves this offseason. LeMahieu and the Yankees agreed to a six-year $90 million contract extension, locking up possibly the league’s best hitter for the future. The team went out and signed veteran starting pitcher Corey Kluber to be their number two starter on the mound. Kluber, who is a two-time CY Young award winner, signed a one-year deal worth $11 million.
The Yankees will also see the return of Luis Severino in 2021. Coming off Tommy John Surgery, Severino looks to return to the Yankees starting rotation and be the number three starter behind Kluber.
With an already impressive power lineup, expect Aaron Judge and the Yankees to be favorites in the AL East, and possibly making a World Series run in October. However, if the Yankees continue to see early exits in the postseason, head coach Aaron Boone’s job could be on the line.