TAMPA, Fla. — On Tuesday, before the Yankees played the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Aaron Boone said Aaron Judge would be cleared to hit outdoors by week’s end.
But he hedged on that Thursday and again Friday while maintaining that there have been no setbacks for the outfielder, who has been brought along cautiously because of right shoulder soreness that cropped up about three weeks ago.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Boone said Friday, referring to Judge taking batting practice outside at some point this weekend. “He hit in the cage again [Thursday], so we have to see how [he responds]. It was his first time hitting live. I’ve got to see what he’s doing this morning and what the next step is.”
Boone was in North Port, where the Yankees beat the Braves, 5-3, at Cool Today Park. Judge was in Tampa.
Judge had a healthy offseason and showed up in Tampa for spring training well before most of the other position players, reporting to the minor-league complex by late January for workouts, including batting practice outside. But earlier this month, Judge — whose availability for Opening Day on March 26 at this point is not thought to be in jeopardy — started experiencing discomfort in the shoulder and was shut down.
There has been progress since then, though. Judge, starting last week, began hitting indoors — work that included tee-and-toss drills — and playing catch up to 90 feet. Judge, who was not on the field with the rest of the outfielders during Friday’s light workout for those players who didn't travel to North Port, extended his throwing to 120 feet earlier this week.
Is there anything slowing Judge down?
“This is the progression,” Boone said. “So it’s tee-and-toss, then seeing pitching in the cage [which took place Friday with a coach throwing BP], then eventually getting outside and then starting getting into games.”
The when for the latter two remains very much up in the air.
German unhurt in accident
The Yankees just lost two starting pitchers to surgery in the span of three weeks, and the team revealed Friday that the suspended Domingo German was involved in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.
The righthander, who has 63 games left in his 81-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic-violence policy last October, escaped injury in the crash, according to Boone. The manager also said that German was sitting in the back seat on the driver’s side and later was checked out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic.
“German’s fine,” Boone said.
According to a report in El Nuevo Diario, two other passengers in the car were injured, with one suffering a broken arm.
The Yankees have kept German away from their spring training complex in Tampa, but he’s been working out at the Dominican facility.
Miggy comfy in LF
Miguel Andujar continues to ace his leftfield test with surprising ease after another flawless stint there Friday. He caught two fly balls, and Boone has been impressed with how quickly he’s taken to the new position, especially his first-step jump.
“I don't want to overstate it because they were two fairly routine plays,” Boone said. “But you’re talking about a sun field where there was a lot of wind. I think he's reading the ball well out there. Even on one of them, he got a little turned around, and there’s no ‘oh-no.’ So far it looks natural to him, and comfortable. It’s a good thing.”