Tampa Bay Rays: AL East: Aaron Judge May Need Rib Removed

Aaron Judge (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Aaron Judge (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Tampa Bay Rays AL East rivals, New York Yankees have been bitten by the injury bug this spring. The latest news on one of their superstars is that he may require surgery.

The Tampa Bay Rays may have an unfortunate window to get out to an early lead in the division over the Yankees. We just published an article chronicling how the Yankees set a record for most IL stints last season and are off on the wrong foot this spring.

Their rotation has taken a huge hit with James Paxton recovering from cyst-removal surgery on his back, Luis Severino losing the season to Tommy John surgery, and Giancarlo Stanton dealing with a strained right calf.

Stanton, 30, was limited to just 18 games last season due to a torn bicep, bad shoulder, sprained knee, strained quad, and a left calf strain. He’s started this spring off with a right calf strain.

Aaron Judge, 27, initially felt discomfort in his right shoulder became an unknown ailment. Today, it was revealed that Judge was dealing with a fractured rib. He is set to be re-evaluated in two weeks. They hope better at that point but they haven’t ruled out the potential for surgery.

Boone said before Friday night’s game:

"“You could do surgery at some point to remove the rib. I wouldn’t say that is off the table. You wouldn’t want to do that right now, especially if the bone is healing.’’"

Unfortunately, Judge has been dealing with this pain since a pre-spring batting practice back in January. Manager Aaron Boone believes it stems back to a diving catch Judge made at the end of last season.

Judge won the 2017 Rookie of the Year and Stanton won the NL MVP that same season. Things have not gone according to plan since Stanton joined Judge in pinstripes.

With Aaron Hicks still recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees are looking at an opening day outfield of some combination of Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andujar.

With the pitching staff suffering from similar woes the Rays have a real opportunity to take advantage of the Yankees’ early injury woes.

New York still managed to finish with the top offense in the league last season, despite the injuries. Their pitching was right in the middle.

Meanwhile, the Rays have improved on offense with the additions of Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Hunter Renfroe, and Jose Martinez. On top of that, the top of their rotation boasts arguably the best three in the league. Ryan Yarbrough and Yonny Chirinos appear to be in line as the fourth and fifth starters.

Next. Rays 2016 Top 10 Prospects: Where Are They Now?. dark

Masahiro Tanaka is slated to open the season as the Yankees’ second starter. Where do you think he’d fit in with the Rays? Fourth or fifth starter? The Rays definitely have an opportunity to build momentum early in the season as the Yankees attempt to get healthy. We wish them all the best with their health and recovery. It’s more fun to beat the Yankees with Judge and Stanton rather than giving them an excuse.