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Why Aaron Judge had shoulder surgery

Aaron Judge  before Game 6 of the ALCS

Aaron Judge  before Game 6 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros on  Oct. 20, 2017, in Houston. Credit: AP / Eric Christian Smith

STAMFORD, Conn. — It was a bit of a surprise when the Yankees announced on Nov. 21 that Aaron Judge had undergone left shoulder surgery.

Judge, the unanimous American League Rookie of the Year and AL MVP runner-up, had a procedure that involved a loose-body removal and cartilage cleanup.

General manager Brian Cashman on Friday made it sound as if Judge played through a lot more pain than was generally known by the public in the second half of his monster season. He said the shoulder could have contributed to Judge’s post-All-Star Game slump.

“At his end-of-the-season physical, during the workup he obviously had some complaints about the shoulder,” Cashman said. “During the season, you saw the ice pack on it. So we did an MRI and Dr. Chris Ahmad told him that it’s something that we could proactively take care of with a cleanup, or you could wait and see after a month if it resolves. If it resolves, we don’t have to do anything. If it’s still lingering a little bit, if you want to get ahead of it, we can address it.”

After a month, it didn’t clear up, and Judge decided to have the surgery. He is expected to be ready for spring training.

Did the shoulder contribute to Judge’s second-half struggles?

“It’s hard to say,” Cashman said. “It was bothering him, without question. Obviously, he had an amazing September. Clearly it’s something he felt and was dealing with, but I can’t measure how much. I’m sure it contributed.”

Judge hit .284 with a rookie-record 52 home runs and 114 RBIs.

New York Sports