Aaron Hicks had Tommy John surgery back in October to repair ligaments in his right elbow. The 30-year old center fielder’s recovery time is about 8-10 months and he was on pace to miss the first 3-4 months of the 2020 season.
If Hicks returns around the eight months mark (similar to when Didi Gregorius returned last season), that would be a June return. He might only miss a few weeks.
If that’s the case, then the Yankees will be able to have their starting center fielder for the majority of the season. Hicks’ switch-hitting ability and stellar defense is crucial to the Yankees chances for success. Having him for most of the (potentially shortened) season would be a tremendous boost to the team, especially since the Yankees expected Hicks to miss about half the year.
Stanton suffered a Grade 1 calf strain back in February, which would have prevented him from being with the team to start the season. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Stanton could be out until April.
The 30-year old slugger has extremely underperformed since being traded to the New York Yankees back in 2017. Over his two seasons in the Bronx, Stanton has played in just 176 games (he appeared in only 18 games in 2019) while suffering a plethora of injuries.
The late start to 2020 gives Stanton more time to nurse his calf injury (and any other aches and pains we don’t know about). Additionally, the extra time will help him get into playing shape and be fully prepared to start when (and if) the season begins.
Earlier this month, the Yankees revealed that Judge had suffered a stress fracture in his first right rib that occurred on an attempted diving catch last September. They decided to shut Judge down for two weeks, with the possibility of surgery to remove the rib if the injury doesn’t get any better.
Like Stanton, Judge has also suffered more than his share of injuries over the years. His most durable season came in his rookie year, 2017, when he played in 155 games.
There’s no telling on what exactly is going to happen with Judge during the next couple of weeks regarding his injury. He did give an update on the situation late last week:
The Yankees and Judge might have felt pressured to do the surgery if the season started on time. So the pause in activities will only help him in the long run. This gives Judge an additional few weeks to rest and rehab, without the pressure of the season’s start just around the corner.
If he’s able to avoid surgery and rehab the stress fracture, the Yankees might see him ready to go by the time the 2020 MLB season begins.