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The Yankees shouldn’t force Aaron Judge’s return

Judge is far too important to rush back.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Through 55 games this season, the Yankees are 36-19. They have played 35 of those games without Aaron Judge, who landed on the injured list with a right oblique strain on April 21. It has been over a month since the MVP candidate last touched the field, and since then the Yankees have been nothing short of the hottest team in baseball.

Adding a player like Judge to the everyday lineup will in no way have a negative effect on the team. That’s not what I’m saying. But young Yankees and surprise acquisitions have kept this club more than afloat throughout Judge’s absence. That is why the team should take their time bringing the right fielder back, especially with a sensitive injury like an oblique strain.

Obliques are involved in almost every movement a player makes, as it is located next to the core. Whether throwing, running, diving, sliding and especially swinging, obliques are involved. They’re not something to mess around with. Considering Judge’s occupation and body type, he has more aggressive movements than the average 27-year-old. Oblique strains take around 4-6 weeks to heal. Judge is at the four-week mark, and has begun to throw and swing.

This is definitely a good sign, and it also let’s us estimate a timetable. Based on his activities to date, I assume he’ll be sidelined for at least the next two weeks.

Additionally, the imminent returns of Didi Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton make it less of a priority to rush Judge along. Gregorius has made impeccable progress in healing from his Tommy John surgery and should be back on the next road trip. Stanton has continued to inch closer to a return from a biceps strain and a myriad setbacks along the way, but should be back soon nonetheless.

Those two should be able to burden the load of the offense for a good while. The team can get firepower back and let Judge continue to rehab. Again, the last thing the Yankees want to do is force Judge back onto the scene too early.

Somehow, this team isn’t in any trouble right now, especially when it comes to the outfield. The Yankees have four outfielders in Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Cameron Maybin, all of whom have filled in fine this year, whether it be at the plate or in the field.

So to the medical staff—and Aaron Judge—tread lightly and take your time. Yankees fans would rather have him back and healthy for the rest of the season, rather than a week too early with another trip to the IL awaiting him.