Aaron Judge
Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated

Aaron Judge, one of the modern-day baseball greats, has had an underwhelming season so far. Last season, he scripted an all-time high home run record but failed to carry on the momentum in 2023. Unprecedented injuries dented Judge’s campaign as the latter was forced to miss at least half of the season held so far.

For the past eight weeks, Aaron Judge has been battling a grievous toe injury. The ligament of the right foot toe was torn as a result of a crash at the Dodgers stadium on June 3. Without Judge, the Yankees slumped to an all-time low. It has reached a point where the team’s postseason berth is under threat. Naturally, to rescue his team from the worst, the captain chose to ignore his health and returned by fast-tracking his rehab program.


Aaron Judge Returns Vs. Orioles, Restricted To DH Role For Now

Aaron Judge
New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge swings at a pitch from the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 28, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

After two months of long absence, Yankees captain Aaron Judge returned to the starting lineup on Friday vs. Orioles. Ahead of the game, the club officially reinstated Judge from IL. On the counter roster move, infield prospect Oswald Peraza was moved back to Triple-A. The captain played as a DH and walked three times in his lone at-bat for the day. He had protective gear strapped over his toe for extra support. But, overall, the slugger looked sharp and in good touch. After the game, Judge spoke to reporters and revealed that a decision on his return wasn’t made until Friday afternoon. He went through an MRI scan which showed that the ligament was stable.

Aaron Judge seemingly claimed that he isn’t, in fact 100% healthy. Judge believes that he won’t feel fully healed until the end of the year. The injury is half healed, and it’s something he will have to play through with. The doctors have affirmed that the toe ligament is healed enough to allow him to play on it without causing further damage. Only a hard contact like the Dodgers stadium crash would reinjure the toe. Hence, the goal for him was to reach a point where he could tolerate the pain and play through it, which he thinks is achieved. While Judge’s return marked a crucial moment, the Yankees’ fate remained unchanged. The team fell 1-0 to the Orioles in the series opener as the offense went without scoring a single run.

Even Judge Could Not Change Yankees’ Fortunes

Tommy Kahnle

It seems the stars are aligning to keep the Yankees from reaching the playoffs this season. The crucial return of Aaron Judge was met with a lot of anticipation and excitement by the fans. One thought that Judge would bring good luck and morale to the team. However, the team’s disappointing outing against the Orioles on Friday perfectly summed up the Yanks’ season so far.

The offense failed to turn up. Barring Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, and Jake Bauers, the rest of the lineup went hitless. Moreover, only Aaron Judge and Billy McKinney successfully made it to the bases. Naturally, the team went scoreless as the Orioles took the game by scoring a walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. It clearly suggests that even Aaron Judge would not be able to resolve the Yankee’s underlying issues single-handedly.