The origin of Aaron Judge’s partially collapsed lung just got weirder

Tribune Content Agency

TAMPA, Fla. — The mystery of Aaron Judge’s partially collapsed lung continues to grow.

The Yankees slugger revealed he had a “pneumothorax,” or as he called it “a little lung thing,” on Friday when he was asked about the fractured first right rib that had held him out of all of spring training. That fractured rib dated back to last September and Wednesday Yankee manager Aaron Boone said that the lung issue was “interrelated” to the rib injury.

“I think it probably dates back to being all sort of related and potentially happening with that dive in September,” Boone said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “It’s probably something that’s impossible to know for sure, but I would believe that it’s all interrelated.”

So Judge not only had shoulder discomfort, but also a damaged lung since his Sept. 18 diving catch attempt on Albert Pujols fly ball?

Obviously this is the least of medical concerns these days. With two Yankees minor leaguers having tested positive for coronavirus, the global pandemic is in the forefront of everyone’s mind, it was good to hear on Friday that Judge said his “pneumothorax” was cleared up. But in the aftermath of the 2019 season where injuries and setbacks were such a part of the story, it’s hard to understand how Judge’s injury took so long and dozens of tests to diagnose. The shut down of spring training and the indefinite delay to the start of the regular season because of the coronavirus pandemic, at least gives Judge time to try and heal his fractured rib.

“Aaron is still in the healing phase of that, that rib bone and … . I think he’ll be reevaluated again in a few weeks. As far as re-imaging that, to see if there’s the continued healing with that rib,” Boone said. “He’s been able to work out doing a lot of lower body stuff. He is able to do some upper body stuff some overhead things so he’s going in pretty much every day in Tampa there to continue his rehab.”

Judge is among the several players who are still rehabbing at the major league complex in Tampa. Giancarlo Stanton was also doing his rehab work there and is “ready to roll” with his strained right calf that was holding him out of spring training.

“He’s been working out there. He’s pretty much over the hump,” Boone said. “He’s pretty much run aggressively and done the things necessary so that if and when they were to be in spring training games, he would likely be ready to roll for that.”

James Paxton, who had surgery to remove a cyst off his spine on Feb. 5, has returned to his offseason home, but continues his rehab there.

“James Paxton is home in Wisconsin, and he has continued with his throwing program and he’s able to work out up there,” Boone said.

Paxton hoped to able to return to a big league mound by “mid-May,” which now may mean he is ready for the regular season opener.

Aaron Hicks, who had offseason Tommy John surgery, began his throwing program.

“Aaron Hicks has begun his throwing program. He’s working out in Arizona,” Boone said. “He’s back home so he’s with his physical therapist there, and he has begun a throwing program.”


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