NEW YORK – Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was held out of action for a second straight day Sunday due to a stiff neck.
The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year was scratched from a simulated game Saturday after waking up with a sore neck, and the right fielder was not included in either lineup for an intrasquad scrimmage Sunday.
New York manager Aaron Boone said Judge got treatment at Yankee Stadium on Sunday and was improving.
“Just thought it was better not to push through it today,” Boone said.
The Yankees are set to open a pandemic-shortened season July 23 at Washington.
New York is planning just a light workout Monday, and Judge will get more treatment with hopes of returning to intrasquad action Tuesday.
“I don’t think it's something that’s going to keep him down too long," Boone said.
The club is scheduled to play its first exhibition game against the New York Mets on Saturday.
Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and used the coronavirus hiatus to recover. He had been swinging at full strength for at least a couple of weeks before camp opened and had been a full-go in intrasquad action over the past week.
The 6-foot-7 star has missed time each of the past two seasons. He broke his right wrist on a hit-by-pitch in 2018 and went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka played catch Sunday to 100 feet and is ramping up his cardio but remains in concussion protocol. The Japanese starter was hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton's 112 mph line drive eight days ago. Boone is still uncertain when Tanaka will return to the mound.
Boone said Clint Frazier is expected to resume playing the outfield this week after being limited to designated hitter so far due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Gerrit Cole threw 84 pitches over 5 2/3 sharp innings in his second intrasquad start Sunday. The ace right-hander said he tired a bit in his sixth inning with temperatures in the low 90s, but he was encouraged overall.
Boone said Cole is unlikely to pitch in New York's three exhibition games against the Mets and Phillies. More likely, Cole will face hitters and push his pitch count a bit higher on Friday, then take advantage of an extra day of rest before opening against the World Series champion Nationals the following Thursday.
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