NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 08: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees throws the baseball during summer workouts at Yankee Stadium on July 08, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Aaron Judge is back in the lineup for the New York Yankees after missing the past few days with a stiff neck.

New York Yankees star right fielder Aaron Judge will play in Wednesday’s simulated game at Yankee Stadium, according to manager Aaron Boone. Judge’s return to the field was reported by several sources, including SNY’s Andy Martino.

Other sources, including Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, reported Judge is only “expected to play” this evening. However, all signs point to the Yankees’ big slugger getting back on the field sooner rather than later.

Brendan Kuty of NJ.com added Judge also played catch with teammate Giancarlo Stanton earlier on Wednesday.

Now, watch as New York Yankees fans worldwide breathe a sigh of relief. Granted, there is nothing overly scary about Aaron Judge sitting out with a stiff neck for a few days. Neck stiffness, though tricky to deal with at times, is more an inconvenience or annoyance than it is a serious injury.

Aaron Judge’s Injury History

However, this is also Aaron Judge we’re talking about. Save for his magnificent rookie campaign, he has dealt with his fair share of injuries.

Shortly after debuting in 2016, he went on the shelf with a strained hamstring. In 2018, he missed six weeks with a fractured wrist. Last year, he missed two months with an oblique strain.

And Judge’s injury problems followed him this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic delaying the start of the season. Even as MLB shut down spring training in March, just over a week before the planned Opening Day, Judge was set to begin the season on the injured list. A stress fracture in his ribs kept him from swinging a bat without pain, but Judge now appears game ready.

The good news for the Yankees is that despite his injury problems, Aaron Judge has remained a consistent hitter at the plate. He hit .272 with 27 home runs and 55 RBI last year and is an elite defensive right fielder. In an abbreviated season, consistent hitting from him would give the Yankees a tremendous advantage.

And the even better news is that Judge’s stiff neck seems to be a non-issue, and holding him out of simulated games was a largely precautionary measure. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he will be in the Opening Day lineup against the Washington Nationals on July 23.

Combine that with fellow slugger Giancarlo Stanton being ready to go, and this could be a New York Yankees season for the ages.

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