Aaron Judge ends all injury drama with first at-bat in Yankees return

Following the latest injury update, it's all smiles for Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees.

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

2022 AL MVP and New York Yankees star Aaron Judge was back in the lineup for Wednesday’s spring training meeting versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, his first time playing since Mar. 10 due to an ominous abdomen injury.

Judge had an MRI following his most recent appearance when the Yankees faced the Atlanta Braves, and considering he was starting in center field and batting third on Wednesday, the results must’ve come back clean. Barring any setbacks, this ends the unnecessary drama surrounding the five-time All-Star and the severity of the issue.

If there were any lingering issues, Judge couldn't have done this:

Judge drove in Juan Soto with a double and then scored a run thanks to Giancarlo Stanton's home run. With Anthony Volpe hitting a home run in the inning as well, the Yankees lineup worked perfectly.

Yankees Aaron Judge back in lineup, ending injury drama

The alarms initially sounded when Judge said he started feeling discomfort in his abdomen when following through on his swings a couple of weeks ago, according to ESPN. But he and the team seem to have dodged a bullet.

Last season, Judge missed 56 games, including a 42-game absence after tearing a ligament in his right big toe. So it is relieving to see him back in the mix so soon. 

His return is especially encouraging considering the initially uncertain timeline based on Yankees manager Aaron Boone going on the record multiple times over the past week to say the slugger would return sooner, which was not the case.

An injury-riddled season limited Judge to 106 games in 2023, but he still hit 37 home runs and 75 RBIs with a .267 batting average and .406 on-base percentage. He will look to return to his form from two years ago as he enters 2024 with a reportedly clean bill of health.

New York hopes there will be no setbacks between now and Opening Day as Judge and the Bronx Bombers look to avenge their disappointing campaign last year when they finished 82-80 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2015.