Well…quite often, though be careful with the “injury prone” label. Despite his unique body, which he’s using to carve out a major-league career unlike any other, his issues seem split almost evenly between degenerative problems and freakish incidents.
Rest assured, the Yankees will still be factoring his injury issues into any potential extension, which is due following the 2022 season — and you can forget about the captaincy if Judge can’t play through something approximating a full 162 games in 2021.
There’s a reason Yankee fans cringe every time a lineup appears without his name on it, and it’s not just because they’re crazy — well, it’s not entirely because of that.
We know he’s among the most skilled players in the league. We know he’s an elite talent.
We just want him to prove it on a semi-daily basis so the Yankees can justify their forthcoming investiment in his services.
Aaron Judge injury update
As of now, Judge is theoretically fine, though he remains on a fairly rigid maintenance plan, especially when the turf of Tropicana Field is involved. Whenever Giancarlo Stanton needs a day off, Judge will typically slide to DH in order to conserve his legs. In the early part of the season, the team tried to sprinkle in some off days, too, as he was clearly a bit hesitant in the outfield in the frigid air.
We think he’s doing alright, though. After all, why else would he be playing center field on occasion? You know what? Don’t answer that.
Aaron Judge Toe Injury, 2023
Judge is currently on the Injured List with a "great toe" (read: big toe) sprain and contusion, something akin to turf toe. Though the team refuses to put a timeline on his return, it seems to be a fairly significant issue, despite no fracture being detected. Someday, the swelling might subside.
Aaron Judge “Lower Body” Soreness, 2021
This is what we’re dealing with so far from time to time in 2021. Judge was removed from April 27’s game, then did not appear in the April 28 lineup with what Aaron Boone deemed to be nebulous soreness in the lower body. Judge also didn’t appear in the season’s seventh game of the year on the turf in Tampa Bay. During both of these brief periods, Yankees fans were a little too loud in their efforts to scream about how something was drastically wrong with their slugger.
Oh, and don’t forget the end of spring training, too, when Judge missed a few consecutive games due to feeling “under the weather”.
What was this soreness? Did it really come, as Boone famously suggested, from uncomfortable airplane seats? Was this an Aaron Judge injury, or an Aaron Judge precaution? We’d rather just sign off on the maintenance plan and hope it keeps working.
Aaron Judge Calf Strain, Early August AND Late August 2020
Behold, the reason why this team is being extra careful with Judge this year as opposed to continuing the way they behaved last season!
Big No. 99 hit the IL a few days after (hold your breath for this one) playing in Tampa, and of course the circumstances were mysterious. Judge homered in a blowout over the Braves, but not a massive blowout; it was a 7-1 game midway through. Boone pulled him from the contest, which the Yankees almost lost, then claimed he was just playing to the score and giving his star a well-earned breather. You know what happened next. He wasn’t in the lineup the next day, then went on the shelf with a calf strain.
Good news: Judge came back at the end of August!
Bad news: He hurt the same calf, and was forced to miss “double the time” rehabbing it.
If the Yankees give Judge an unnecessary breather moving forward, it will be motivated by this experience.
Aaron Judge Collapsed Lung and Rib Issue, Spring 2020
This was a big ol’ cluster of an injury sequence. Judge reported to spring training in 2020 with something nebulous bothering him. It wasn’t quite a shoulder, it wasn’t quite an oblique…it was a seemingly undiagnosable pain, which is the worst kind of pain.
Finally, the Yankees got to the bottom of it: Judge had a cracked rib, officially labeled a stress fracture, as well as a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) all because of (we think) a diving play back in Sept. of 2019 against the Angels. He was all set to miss a significant chunk of the season before the season decided to miss itself, postponed until late July due to the pandemic.
If this diagnosis is to be believed, Judge played the entire postseason of 2019 in extreme pain, and flew on repeated road trips that a doctor surely would’ve advised him not to take under this condition.
Aaron Judge ‘Significant’ Oblique Strain, April 2019
Midway through an April beatdown of the Kansas City Royals, Judge departed with what would eventually be deemed another oblique strain. He wouldn’t return until June 21, setting the tone for the “Next Man Up” Yankees, a team with a lineup that always seemed to be without at least a pair of stars.
Aaron Judge Chip Fracture in Wrist, July 2018
Now this Aaron Judge injury can certainly be deemed freakish, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
The 2018 Yankees began the season in a near-impossible hole in the AL East, as the miraculous Red Sox raced out to a 17-2 record. By July 26, though, the team was back in the thick of the race, just 4.5 back.
That’s when Kansas City Royals hurler Jakob Junis essentially stopped the divisional pursuit in its tracks, striking Judge on the wrist with a fastball and sending him to the IL for nearly two months. By the postseason, he seemed to have rounded into form, but it was too late to avoid the Wild Card Game and humiliation at the hands of the Red Sox.
Aaron Judge Shoulder Surgery, 2017-18 Offseason
Remember when Judge was terrible following his spectacular Home Run Derby performance for, like, a bit over a month? And he was icing his shoulder everyday, even though “nothing” was wrong? Well, turned out he needed offseason arthroscopic surgery to solve the issue after performing solidly in 2017’s postseason while playing through pain.
That’s the crux of the whole “Judge” thing — he plays through pain all the time. When he misses a few games to manage issues, it’s not because he wants to.
Aaron Judge Grade 2 Oblique Strain, 2016
Judge’s inauspicious debut, in which he struck out in half of his 84 official at-bats, ended a few weeks early with a Grade 2 oblique strain. Of course it did.
He’d have to fight for his roster spot the next spring, which worked out pretty well for him in the end.