Aaron Judge
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Aaron Judge is making positive strides in his recovery from an oblique injury and his return appears to be inching closer.

It’s easy to forget about the many New York Yankees injuries in 2019. With the team in first place and surprising heroes stepping forth, all is well in the Bronx. However, the Yankees could take their game to another level with the return of a few key stars—most notably, Aaron Judge.

Judge suffered an oblique injury on April 20 and has not played in a game since. Everyone knows Judge is the alpha dog on the team and it sounds like he’s inching closer towards a possible return. There’s still no clear timetable, but the right fielder did say he’s feeling no pain at this point.

“I felt I haven’t missed a day. It feels like April (20),” Judge said, according to Erik Boland of Newsday. “There is no pain and no problem. I am letting it go. The last couple of days, getting back to normal routine and getting the rhythm down again.”

That’s obviously positive news for Aaron Boone. The second-year manager has been pushing all the right buttons so far this season. Although Boone would prefer to have a healthy Judge in the lineup every day, he spoke highly about Judge’s leadership abilities.

“Aaron’s obviously a special player, but just a special person and a special presence in our room,” Boone said. “As upset as he was when he first got injured, one of the first conversations I had with him was, ‘You can still impact us in a big way.’ And I absolutely feel like he has. He’s a part of our hitters’ meetings (that precede every series), he’s a part of kind of integrating new players that we’ve brought in to the clubhouse. He’s a part of our postgame when we talk and we talk about a victory or whatever. He’s been a huge part of this and a huge presence in all of it.”

Guys like Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, and Gary Sanchez have picked up the slack while Judge has been down. The Yankees (36-19) are currently tied in the loss column with the Tampa Bay Rays (35-19). After a rainout on Thursday, the Yanks welcome the third-place Boston Red Sox (29-27) to the Bronx on Friday.

There will be no Aaron Judge this weekend, but he’s looming.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.