Yankees’ Aaron Boone says injured players, including Judge and Stanton, could be ready for delayed opener

The Yankees got hit with a deluge of injuries during spring training. But with coronavirus causing MLB to shut down for the foreseeable future, the Yankees might be able to get back close to full health by the time the season starts. 

Manager Aaron Boone was on MLB Network Radio on Monday and noted  (via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch) that he thinks three injured players — starting pitcher James Paxton along with outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge  — could be ready for Opening Day, whenever it comes. The league said Monday that the first regular season game will take place no earlier than mid-May.

Paxton had back surgery in late February and was initially given a recovery timetable of three to four months. It originally seemed that the lefty could be out until June, but there’s a decent chance the season won’t begin before then.

Paxton pitched to a 3.82 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 2.2 WAR in 150 2/3 innings last season. If he can return in time, he slots second in the rotation behind Gerrit Cole with Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery and J.A. Happ filling the starting five. Luis Severino had Tommy John surgery last month and will miss the whole season, regardless of when it starts.

Stanton missed all but 18 games last season and was dealing with a calf injury this time around. He’s been injury prone, so there’s obviously no guarantee he’ll be ready, but the extra time benefits him. 

Judge had a stress fracture in his ribs and was only to be shut down for weeks, so a delay in the season means he should be OK to go whenever baseball is. Judge was MVP runner-up in 2017, but he’s dealt with injuries the last two seasons, playing in 112 and 102 games, respectively.  

Should the trio be ready, the Yankees would actually be close to full strength after it looked like they’d open the season with major injury woes. 

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