Anthony Rizzo Teases Judge Over Spring Training No-Show

Yankees' Camaraderie Shines Amid Spring Training Antics.

by Zain ul Abedin
Anthony Rizzo Teases Judge Over Spring Training No-Show
© Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Yankees aficionados have found themselves on the edge of their seats this past week, as concerns over Aaron Judge's well-being have surged to the forefront. The captain's recent withdrawal from multiple matchups due to an abdominal ailment has sparked speculation among supporters that the situation might be more grave than the team has disclosed.

This anxiety is not unfounded, especially considering the ordeal last season when Judge was benched for a lengthy two months due to a ligament tear, an injury initially downplayed as a mere strain. In an effort to lighten the mood and possibly alleviate some of the unease among fans, Anthony Rizzo, Judge's teammate, undertook an unconventional approach.

Rizzo's Playful Probe

Dubbing himself a makeshift journalist for the day, Rizzo, the Yankees' first baseman, cheekily interrogated Judge about his absence from recent games. "Aaron, do you find it fair to your Grapefruit League colleagues that you're not participating alongside them?" Rizzo jested, according to Sports Illustrated's recount by analyst Bryan Hoch.

Judge, ever the sport, responded with commendation for his team's diligence, humorously engaging in the playful banter. Amidst this jest, the Yankees faced a real setback with the announcement that Gerrit Cole, their star pitcher, would be sidelined due to shoulder complications, forecasting a challenging period for the team.

Last year, Cole's outstanding performance was a silver lining for the Yankees, securing his first Cy Young Award with a 15-4 record and a 2.63 ERA. However, the jest and joviality surrounding Judge's condition veil a crucial reality: his pivotal role in the Yankees' quest for success.

With heavy hitters like Juan Soto and Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup, Judge remains the linchpin of the team's offensive strategy. At 31, the record-setting slugger is optimistic about his readiness for the season opener against the Houston Astros on March 28, emphasizing his commitment to being "game-ready for Opening Day." Judge's determination to return to the field is a beacon of hope for Yankees supporters.

With aspirations of surpassing last year's performance, the team's prospects hinge significantly on Judge's recovery and his ability to lead from the forefront.