Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge were both highly doubtful to be ready for the start of the regular season because of injuries. However, now that it has been delayed for at least two weeks have the odds of Stanton and Judge being in the Yankees Opening Day lineup increased?
On Thursday Major League Baseball announced that the start of the regular season would be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. There are obviously more important things to worry about right now than baseball but for the Yankees working their way back from injuries they might not end up missing as much of the season as we all previously thought.
The season could begin on April 9th at the earliest but that seems extremely unlikely considering how rapidly the virus continues to spread. And after news broke on Friday that the MLB and the player’s union came to an agreement that permitted players from spring camps to go home we can pretty much assume the season is going to start a lot later than two weeks from now. (As a team the Yankees have voted to stay in Tampa and work out together).
This situation is totally unprecedented but absolutely necessary given the circumstances. There’s really no way of knowing when we’ll see baseball or any other sport return to action. All we can do right now is take the proper precautions to stay safe and hope this all calms down sooner rather than later.
As for Judge and Stanton, they’ll continue to rehab their injuries although it’s unclear where. Judge told reporters after the announcement on Thursday that he might return from his fractured rib in mid or late April, but also made it clear he didn’t have an exact timetable. The good news is his rib is healing so it seems like he won’t need surgery. Judge joked that he wouldn’t mind a couple more weeks to recover even though he doesn’t want the season to be delayed.
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In Stanton’s case, my guess is he’ll probably be ready to play before Judge will after he suffered a Grade 1 calf strain on February 25th. He’s been progressing well of late and on Wednesday he started taking live batting practice on the field against some of the Yankees relievers. He said he planned on beginning to run outside as well.
Brian Cashman said last week he expects Stanton to return at some point in April but he doesn’t know if it will be earlier or later in the month. It sure doesn’t look like the season is going to begin before May so he should have plenty of time to get himself 100% healthy.
The further this all drags out the more likely it is both Stanton and Judge will be ready for Opening Day, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding everything. There’s still a lot to be worked out and before we start focusing on when the regular season will begin let’s not forget about spring training and the possibility of continuing the exhibition schedule.
There’s no telling when that could resume and how long it will be, but for the Yankees rehabbing injuries like Judge, Stanton and James Paxton more spring training would benefit them greatly.