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Yankees News: Aaron Judge Says He’s ‘Game Ready,’ Expects to Play on Opening Day

Yankees News: Aaron Judge Says He’s ‘Game Ready,’ Expects to Play on Opening Day

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge runs during a spring training baseball workout Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge told reporters Monday he’s “game-ready” ahead of the 2020 MLB season.

The Yankees diagnosed the two-time All-star with a stress fracture in one of his ribs in March.

New York will open its campaign July 23 on the road against the Washington Nationals.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing MLB to delay Opening Day, one minor benefit for the Yankees is that Judge may not have to miss the start of the season.

Once we resume play, we’re excited to believe that he’s going to rejoin us at full capacity,” general manager Brian Cashman told reporters in May. “He wants to play as much as anybody, and we look forward to getting him back in the lineup.”

Judge participated in an intrasquad scrimmage Monday as part of his training preparations.

Marly Rivera @MarlyRiveraESPN

This is the first time we have seen Aaron Judge at bat since October of last year. https://t.co/yWHxXSfi6C

Yankees players spent a collective 3,172 days on the injured list in 2019, the most in MLB, per Spotrac. New York still won the American League East by seven games.

In a condensed 60-game regular season, a team’s margin for error becomes much smaller. Losing a player of Judge’s caliber could have a larger impact on a franchise with playoff aspirations.

Judge finished with 27 home runs, 55 RBI and a .540 slugging percentage over 102 games in 2019. Having him available near the top of the order right from the outset will help the Yankees in their quest for a second straight division crown.