Aaron Judge injury: Yankees star unlikely to play Opening Day due to pectoral issue

The Yankees have already lost frontline starting pitcher Luis Severino for the season and slugger Giancarlo Stanton might not be ready to start the 2020 campaign. Fellow slugger Aaron Judge might not be in the Opening Day lineup, either. Over the weekend, Yankees manager Aaron Boone disclosed that Judge has felt some pain under his right pectoral muscle, an issue that flares up when he swings a bat.

Tuesday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that Judge has been undergoing tests and is "responding well" to his treatment (via Brian Hoch). 

But there was bad news about the star right fielder, too. 

Judge, 27, hit .272/.381/.540 (143 OPS+) last season with 27 homers and 55 RBI, amassing 5.4 WAR. He only played in 102 games as he injured his oblique early in the season and missed several weeks. He was held to 112 games in 2018 after breaking his wrist, too. 

In Judge's one full season, 2017, he finished second in AL MVP voting after hitting .284/.422/.627 with 52 homers, 114 RBI and leading the AL with 128 runs, 127 walks and 8.1 WAR. 

If Judge can stay healthy, it's reasonable to believe he'll again be one of the best players in baseball, but that's been a problem in the last two years and it might well be the case again in 2020. 

If the Yankees are to go without either Stanton or Judge for any length of time they'll be turning to the likes of Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, Mike Ford, Mike Tauchman and/or Tyler Wade to fill the corner outfield and designated hitter spots on any given day. They have depth, but full health for Stanton and Judge is one of the things that would make the Yankees favorites to win the World Series.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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