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Yankees Injuries: The team slowly gets healthier

Aaron Hicks is already taking batting practice and James Paxton is ready to go, while Aaron Judge remains limited

League Championship Series - Houston Astros v New York Yankees - Game Five Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Yankees were set to open the 2020 schedule with each and every member of the starting outfield on the injured list, had the season started back on March 26. Giancarlo Stanton sat out with a Grade 1 right calf strain, Aaron Judge nursed a fractured rib, and Aaron Hicks was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Today, the scenario is different, and all of them could be ready whenever the season starts, if it starts at all.

Other injured Yankees, such as starting pitchers Luis Severino and James Paxton are progressing nicely, although the former will miss the season anyway.

Here are the Yankees’ injuries and their latest updates, one by one:

Luis Severino

Out for the year with Tommy John surgery, Luis Severino has been “progressing well” in his recovery, per a report from MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch on May 31.

“I’ve been down in Tampa since the day after I had my surgery,” Severino said. “I do arm bike, dumbbell exercises, and I just follow the routine that [trainers] Timmy [Lentych] and Alfonso [Malaguti] plan out for me. I spend an hour and half with them in the trainer’s room before I move into the gym, every day, five days a week. Things have been progressing well. I’ve been making steady progress — lifting, doing exercises. Since three months ago — I think when I first had my surgery — I feel way better. I’m doing everything I need to do right now so that I can start throwing this summer.’’

The pitcher had his surgery in late February, so he figures to miss the whole 2020 season and perhaps the first few weeks of 2021.

James Paxton

In late February, it was reported that Paxton needed back surgery (microscopic lumbar discectomy) that would sideline him for three or four months. Back then, the Yankees began preparing for life without the southpaw for at least the first two months of the 2020 season.

However, COVID-19 sidelined the start of the schedule, so the lefty will be ready for whenever the season starts.

Paxton’s latest report came in late May by Meredith Marakovits of YES Network. It said that the pitcher was working on increasing the spin rate of his pitches. He’s back to normal health-wise, having thrown between 12 and 14 bullpen sessions.

Working out in Wisconsin, Paxton has been experimenting with a ball that tracks spin rate. Using a delivery with less contact with his thumb, he has been able to increase spin and back spin. Write down Paxton’s name for the start of the still hypothetical season.

Aaron Judge

A few weeks ago, it looked like Judge would be a go for the start of the post-COVID season. Now, we don’t know if he will be ready. In late-May, Marcus Thames, the Yankees’ hitting coach, told Marakovits that the powerful outfielder wasn’t yet swinging a bat.

The Yankees are being extra cautious with their star. “When the doctors turn him loose, he’ll be ready,” Thames said back then. “He’s champing at the bit to get out there.”

Earlier in May, general manager Brian Cashman said that his expectation for Judge was for him to be ready to play around summertime. That still appears to be the case but there haven’t been recent updates.

Aaron Hicks

Hicks posted a video of an extensive workout on Instagram in mid-May. The talented center fielder now appears to be closer than Judge, as he is already taking batting practice, sprinting on a treadmill, and throwing around a large medicine ball.

Considering that he underwent the procedure in October, Hicks figures to be ready in the next few weeks and could be an option for the start of the season. In a regular schedule, he would have missed the entire first half.

Giancarlo Stanton

Back in late February, Stanton suffered a Grade 1 right calf strain that put his Opening Day status in jeopardy. It wasn’t a long-term injury by any means, and right now, he is fully recovered, ready to play if needed.

Stanton started running and taking batting practice more than two months ago, so his name will surely be in the lineup card for the season’s first game, whenever that may come.

Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar suffered back issues and a calf strain, respectively, back in February and March, but since there haven’t been reports on those for a long time, we take it as a sign that they are at or near full strength at this point.