Yankees: Aaron Judge working his way back to you

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Aaron Judge
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Aaron Judge /

Much like The Four Seasons’ 1966 hit song, that reached No. 9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, Yankees right-fielder Aaron Judge is working his way back to you, babe.

Before we get into the status of the reigning American League Rookie of the Year and face of the New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, let’s make one thing clear. “Working My Way Back To You” was made famous by Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, not, The Spinners. The latter didn’t re-record the song until 1980.

Now that that’s settled; on Monday, Judge told ESPN that his surgically repaired left-shoulder wouldn’t be 100 percent healed until the start of the regular season.

"“It’s a work in progress until Opening Day,” Judge said."

Scheduled to get his first crack at Grapefruit League action on Wednesday against the Tigers, manager Aaron Boone anticipates his 25-year-old star to bat second and play right field.

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Judge has been on record saying that the pain in his shoulder began last July, sometime around his Home Run Derby heroics. Though he’s refused to blame his now famous six-week dry spell on the severity of the injury, it doesn’t take a doctor to put two and two together.

It’s hard to imagine just how many more home runs Judge would have finished last season with, had his front shoulder been pain-free. Obviously, Cortisone shots helped push Judge to a rookie record 52 home runs.

On Monday, hitting in the same batting practice group as Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Russell Wilson (yes, that Russell Wilson), Judge seemed to quell some fear, hitting 10 balls out of the park. Then on Tuesday morning, Judge worked a simulated outing against lefty Chasen Shreve.

With Judge’s stance a little more bent at the knees than how he finished up the 2017 campaign, it appeared the hulking the kid with the equally large smile was working on his timing, just missing a few pitches, lining them directly back to the screen.

"As for Judge’s continued recovery, “it’s just about trusting it and trusting how it feels, and making sure I continue to build up my strength,” Judge told ESPN. “It’s about making sure it’s pain-free when I wake up each morning.”"

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Coming away pain-free from the few innings he plays on Wednesday is the primary goal.

Strikeouts will be taken with a grain of salt, and big flies will be a bonus. Still, with plenty of time to ramp up activity before Opening Day, the Yankees know a significant amount of their future lies in the left shoulder of No. 99.