Aaron Judge, in his latest injury update, threw some cold water on Tuesday on whatever optimism might have come from Monday’s news that he has begun lightly swinging a bat.
Judge, who is out indefinitely with a torn ligament in his right big toe, said he is doing everything he can to come back as fast as possible.
It’s just that he can’t do much. He can’t run. He can’t put his 270 pounds on his back foot to get off his swing, which he called “the biggest factor, besides running.”
Judge also mentioned he may end up needing offseason surgery on the toe and that the effects of the injury could linger “a year, two years, three years.”
Judge reference a dislocated pinkie he suffered in 2021 and that he still feels the effects of that injury. Of course, he did hit an AL-record 62 home runs in 2022.
Judge, 31, signed a nine-year, $360-million contract before the season.
“It’s feeling good walking. It doesn’t feel great,’’ Judge said before the Yankees beat the Orioles, 8-4, at Yankee Stadium. “I don’t think it will ever feel normal. I can move around pretty well, but any injury [can linger] a year or two or three years. You never know what it’s going feel like.”
Here’s what Judge has done so far: played catch and hit off a tee and with someone tossing him a ball.
On running: “I’ve got to be able to run. If I can run, then I can play. But me running at 10 percent isn’t helping anybody.”
On being able to support his swing: “It’s me being able to put 270 pounds [on the back foot] while I’m hitting. So once we build up that strength and get the pain and all that kind of out of there, we’re going to be in a good spot.’’
When will that be?
“I can’t see the future,” he said. “I’m just telling you how it is right now and what we’ve got.’’
The Yankees, with Tuesday’s win, are now 13-13 since Judge’s injury.
As for surgery, Judge said that’s not an option during the season.
“There’s talks of surgery, but I don’t think we’re at that,” Judge said. “We’re not doing that this year . . . I’m not a doctor. I’ve got no idea. They throw around eight different things when you’re back there [in the training room].”
Judge said he recognizes he’s going to have to play through pain when he returns.
“I kind of understand you’re going to deal with some pain coming back,’’ he said. “It’s about getting to a point where it’s tolerable and we’re not setting ourselves back here.’’
Said manager Aaron Boone: “When it's right, and when he's able to go, he'll be able to go and [I’m] confident that he'll be able to do it the level we are accustomed to seeing. I do feel like he's making really good progress in that regard.”
Judge said he doesn’t know yet if he’s going to attend the July 11 All-Star Game in Seattle. He was elected as a starter by fans.
“We’re at the rehab process,” Judge said. “Maybe it’s best not to go and maybe we’ll focus on doing some rehab stuff. If we’re not close, probably best to stay back and get some work in.”