Yankees Confident Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton Will be Ready for Opening Day

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New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman gave his first media availability, via conference call, since Major League Baseball announced the start of the 2020 season this afternoon, and we had injury/fitness updates aplenty.

Cashman said he is “very optimistic” that outfielder Aaron Judge will be in the Opening Day lineup against the Washington Nationals on July 23.  The Yanks GM also expressed his belief that left-handed starter James Paxton and outfielder Aaron Hicks will be good to go for the curtain raiser as well.

Meanwhile Giancarlo Stanton should be at least available for Designated Hitter duty. Judge missed all of the initial spring training due to a fractured rib suffered late last season.

Paxton (back) and Hicks (elbow) have been recovering from surgeries. As for Stanton, he’s been nursing a strained calf. Perhaps no team was more injury-stricken in late 2019 and also this spring training than the Yanks. It’s also hard to imagine another Major League team that benefited more than NYY when it comes to the prolonged shutdown brought on by the coronavirus.

Those four extra months allowed the Yankees to heal up some of their biggest guns, and thus recharge their DeathStar. A fully fit New York Yankees side, led by Judge and Stanton, is a hands down favorite to capture the American League pennant.

A little bit more from Cashman on the media call today.

He said Paxton is good to go from the start of camp (which is tomorrow, when MLB teams will commence camp in their home ballparks) and “appears game-ready.” –

With Hicks he doubts “there’s any concern,” but he needs to shake off the rust and get reps. As for Stanton, his capabilities beyond DHing will just be based on reps in the coming weeks.

Finally, Cashman said that with Aaron Judge the biggest box left to check is getting outfield game reps, and getting into full on game shape after the long layoff.

It’s going to be a very weird, abbreviated MLB season, unlike any we’ve ever seen before. However, the constant of the Yankees being a powerhouse is one thing that hasn’t changed.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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