Aaron Judge admits big toe injury will require ongoing care throughout his career

TAMPA, Fla. – New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge addressed concerns about his ongoing big toe problem during a press conference on Tuesday. Judge acknowledged that it will require constant maintenance throughout his career to prevent any flare-ups. Although he did not indicate that the toe is currently an issue or that he expects it to become one, Judge emphasized the importance of staying on top of his injuries to avoid any setbacks.

After missing 42 games last season due to a torn ligament in his right big toe, Judge returned to the field and played 106 games, hitting .262 with 37 home runs, 75 RBIs, and a 1.019 OPS. With prospect Jasson Dominguez sidelined until at least the early summer due to a torn UCL in his right elbow, Judge is expected to spend most of his playing time in centerfield when the new season begins.

Judge humorously referenced his history of injuries in rightfield and suggested that was the reason why he was moved to centerfield. However, the Yankees and Judge himself understand the importance of his ability to stay healthy and contribute consistently to the team’s success.

The outfielder’s injury last June, which occurred as he made a running catch to rob J.D. Martinez of a potential extra-base hit, brought back memories of a similar incident in 2019. On that occasion, Judge suffered a bruised shoulder and a right rib stress fracture when he attempted an unsuccessful diving catch. Following that injury, Judge was limited in 2020 spring training due to lingering discomfort.

As he looks ahead to the upcoming season, Judge recognizes the need to play smarter and be more aware of the field and its dimensions. While embracing the move to centerfield, he hopes to avoid any future injuries such as the one he experienced at Dodger Stadium.

Judge’s injury played a part in the Yankees’ disappointing 2023 season, which saw the team finish with an 82-80 record and miss the playoffs for the first time in his career. The Yankees organization, including Judge, acknowledged the collective disappointment and expressed determination to rebound in the upcoming season.

Known for his resemblance to former Yankees captain Derek Jeter and his unwavering pursuit of a championship, Judge is the team’s most popular player since Jeter’s retirement in 2014. Manager Aaron Boone believes that Judge has the potential to be considered in the same league as Yankees legends like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Jeter. However, Boone stressed the importance of adding a championship to Judge’s resume to solidify his place among those iconic figures.

As the new season approaches, Judge remains focused on his goal of winning a championship and leading the Yankees to success. Although his big toe may require continuous attention, he is determined to stay on the field and make significant contributions to the team.