Aaron Judge, Nestor Cortes give injury updates, varying levels of optimism

LOS ANGELES – When Aaron Judge approached his locker room after the Yankees’ victory over the Dodgers on Sunday night, he did so without a problem or a limp.

The slugger missed Sunday’s game after spraining his right thumb while making a sensational catch Saturday, but spoke to reporters anyway. As Judge did this, he stood in flip flops and socks. Whether there was any additional protection or padding under the right sock was not apparent.

The judge said not playing on Sunday was “precautionary”. Still, he seemed resigned to the possibility of going on the injured list.

“I really don’t care at this point,” said a player who almost always insists he’s fine, even when he’s not. “If I’m on it, I’m on it. I’m trying not to be, but I haven’t heard back yet. Hopefully today and tomorrow, resting a bit, I’ll be good to go, hopefully on Tuesday. We’re going to take it day by day right now.”

Judge wasn’t entirely sure what tests await him in New York, but mentioned the possibility of X-rays and an MRI on Monday, an off day for the Yankees.

When asked if he thought he had a broken finger, Judge said, “It’s hard to say. I’ve never broken a toe. So we’ll see what the tests say. I don’t want to throw anything out there just yet.”

Aaron Boone said that as Sunday’s game unfolded, he decided not to use Judge, who made a push to play before the game.

“We had a few discussions last night and today, but they were shut down pretty quickly,” Judge said.

While Judge awaits a possible IL stint, the Yankees have already said they expect Nestor Cortes to need one, though an official move has yet to be made.

The left-handed shoulder had a tough time recovering between his last few starts, and he eventually told the Los Angeles Yankees.

“I’m not really worried. It’s just a lot of pain,” Cortes said. “I haven’t been able to come back like I wanted between starts. Hopefully everything comes back clean on the MRI tomorrow and we can just move forward and get better.

“Usually the next day, it’s pretty rough. Your normal pain. But in this case, the second and third days felt about the same. I didn’t really feel like I was recovering better and feeling less sore. I was feeling the same pain as the first day after I launched. And obviously with bullpens in between, I don’t want to go out there and throw a half-assed bullpen and feel like I didn’t prepare well enough for my next start.”

Cortes, who hasn’t thrown a bullpen since his last start on May 30, also used the word “inflammation” to describe what he was dealing with and said he hasn’t felt the problem before. He added that “the plan” is to miss two or three starts.

Cortes has had trouble finishing strong in his starts this season, often struggling past the fifth inning or the 75-pitch mark while pitching third through an order or some combination of the three. But he doesn’t think shoulder pain is the reason he struggled at the end of the starts.

“I don’t think so,” said Cortes. “This is more about preparing in between starts where I feel like I can’t do what I want to do in between to work on things or get better at certain things. So in game when I launch it doesn’t hurt. It does not hurt. It’s just a couple of days where it’s getting harder and harder to recover before my next start.”


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