One month into his recovery from a torn ligament in his right toe, Aaron Judge has started hitting off a tee but said Tuesday he is still unable to run.
“I got to be able to run,” Judge said before the New York Yankees continued a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles. “If I can run then I can play. Me running at 10% ain’t going to help anybody out there.”
Judge said being able to put weight on his back foot is the biggest factor in how fast he can return from an injury that is unusual for a baseball player.
“Besides running, it’s me being able to put 270 pounds on one leg when I’m hitting,” Judge said. “Once we build up that strength and get the pain and all that all out of there, we’re going to be in a good spot. I understand you’re going to deal with some pain coming back, so it’s just about getting to a point where it’s tolerable and we’re not setting ourselves back here.”
Monday marked one month since Judge got hurt when he crashed into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium while making a catch on a drive by J.D. Martinez. Judge had hoped to start baseball activities shortly after receiving a second platelet-rich plasma injection June 20, but he only recently has started playing catch and taking light swings.
“When it’s right and when he’s able to go, he’ll be able to go,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I’m confident he’ll be able to do it at the level we’re accustomed to seeing. So, I do feel like he’s making really good progress in that regard but from a time standpoint it will take as long as it needs to where he’s able to go out there and be Aaron Judge.”
Judge was elected in the fan vote as a starter to the All-Star Game, but said he is unsure if he will head to Seattle next week.
“We’re close to coming back and maybe it’s best not to go and maybe we’ll focus on doing some rehab stuff if we’re not close,” Judge said. “Probably best to stay back and get some work in, so I don’t know.
“Just have a couple of more people to talk to about that, talk to the trainers and doctors and see where we’re at.”
Judge set an American League record with 62 home runs last year. He is hitting .291 with 19 homers and 40 RBIs in the first season of a $360 million, nine-year contract he agreed to during the offseason.
The Yankees are 12-13 since losing Judge to a second injured list stint. New York is 30-19 with the 2022 AL MVP, who also missed 10 games earlier this season with a right hip strain sustained trying to steal third base in Minnesota on his 31st birthday on April 26.