New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he is very optimistic slugger Aaron Judge will be ready to play when the abbreviated MLB season starts in late July.
Judge reported pain in his right shoulder and pectoral muscle just before spring training began and it was later revealed that he had since recovered from a collapsed lung.
The two-time All-Star did not play in any spring training games.
That came after Judge was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his first right rib in early March, an injury the Yankees believed dated back to an attempted catch on September 18.
Judge received pain-killing injections and played through the 2019 postseason, batting .265 (9-for-34) with one home run and two RBIs in nine games.
The 28-year-old originally said he was optimistic he would be ready by opening day on March 26 against the Baltimore Orioles prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Yankees later said they felt that was unlikely.
"We are very optimistic as of right now that maybe his proximation that he would be ready on opening day and in the lineup will ring true," Cashman said on Tuesday.
"So now it comes down to game reps and facing live pitching and seeing if he's in game shape."
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Yankees are reported to open the season on the road against World Series champions the Washington Nationals on July 23.
Judge has batted .273 with 110 homers and 246 RBIs in 396 career games but has dealt with various injuries the past two seasons.
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