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MLB Notebook: Yankees stars Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge uncertain for Opening Day

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Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Holden
28 days ago

New York Yankees stars facing injury concerns

Two Yankee stars could miss Opening Day as both Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole have undergone MRIs over the past few days. Cole has struggled to recover from throwing sessions and needs an MRI on his throwing elbow. Judge announced that he received an MRI on his abdominal area on Monday. 
For Cole, his Opening Day seems to be out of reach as he will likely be available to suit up on March 28th in Houston. Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said “it would be difficult” to see Cole start on Opening Day.
Yanks Pitcher Nestor Cortes said that he knew that Cole was dealing with something, but was unaware of the severity of the issue. 
I know he’s been dealing with some stuff, as every pitcher is during spring training… I didn’t know how serious it was until now,he said.
While there hasn’t been an update on the results of the MRI, it could be one that sidelines him for a little bit. Cortes said the injury is “alarming,” not exactly the word you want to hear inside the clubhouse. However, we do have the results from Aaron Judge’s MRI, Judge said his MRI came back clean and chalks it up to his offseason training.
I think just from swinging from November all the way until now, every single day, it put some wear and tear on it,” he said.
Judge has suffered from abdominal injuries in his career after he strained his right oblique in 2016, ending his season. He then injured his left oblique in 2019, keeping him out of the lineup for 62 games. However, Judge assured that it was not his oblique that was bothering him. The issue is in the middle of his abs, claiming that his follow-through is where he feels it the most. 
 Judge also missed time last season after crashing through the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium and tearing a ligament in his toe. The injury forced alterations to Judge’s swing, which he speculated could account for his discomfort.
Especially coming back after a toe injury when your mechanics are a little messed up and you’re just working on some things,” he said.
While Judge’s timeline remains uncertain, he did say that he will not swing the bat until the end of the week at the earliest.
So what do the Yankees do now? Well, shortly after the Judge news, Bob Nightengale reported the Yanks have re-engaged in trade talks with the Chicago White Sox for Dylan Cease. New York’s offer, however, did not include No. 2 prospect Spencer Jones. Plus, Blake Snell seems to be close to signing somewhere soon. Snell posted on his instagram story a black background and the eyes emoji, sparking many to speculate when he will sign. And, as the Rangers confirmed last week, a reunion between Texas and Jordan Montgomery is unlikely, but could a Yankees and Jordan Montgomery reunion be in the cards?
New York has a healthy surplus in the outfield with the acquisitions of Alex Verdugo, Trent Grisham, and Juan Soto, plus, the Yankees’ two top prospects are both power-hitting outfielders in Jasson Dominguez and Spencer Jones.

Atlanta Braves are ‘mapping out’ Ronald Acuña’s return

The Atlanta Braves have Ronald Acuña’s return from injury all “mapped out,” according to Manager Brian Snitker. 
Acuña tweaked his knee in a game against the Twins on February 29th where an MRI showed irritation around his right meniscus. He did return to the Braves Spring Training complex in Florida on March 5th and played in a simulation game for Atlanta on the Minor League backfields on March 9th. 
Acuña’s injury is not believed to force him to miss Opening Day, but the Braves say the extra time Acuña has missed will prevent the injury from re-aggravating throughout the season. Despite being held out, Sabanero Soy says that he is ready to play now. 
I don’t know when I can play a game, but I feel like I can play today,” he said.
Brian Snitker says he is just waiting on the training staff’s approval to insert Acuña back into the lineup. 
When they give me the OK, I’ll put him back in that first spot and let him go,” he said.
Snitker also affirmed that Acuña’s injury will not affect his aggressiveness on the basepaths this season after posting the MLB’s first 40 home run and 70 stolen base season in league history.
He’s going to reach a time where he’s going to slow down on his own. For now, you’ve just got to let a kid like that loose and let him play his game,” Snitker said.
Now, speaking of the Braves and injuries, a couple of pitchers who used to be in the Atlanta organization are facing massive injuries. The Braves sent Jackson Kowar and Cole Phillips to the Seattle Mariners this winter in exchange for OF Jarred Kelenic. Now, Kowar and Phillips will be out for the rest of the 2024 season as they will both undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be Phillips’ second TJ, while Kowar, who was expected to step into a bullpen role, will face his first Tommy John operation in his career.
Kowar was having a really good spring for the M’s, touching 98 mph in his last appearance while his offspeed stuff started to take shape. Mariners GM, Justin Hollander said Kowar’s Spring was promising and is “crushed” for Kowar. 
I thought he was really starting to rise up in this camp and really fulfill a lot of the potential there that teams have seen for a long time,” Hollander said.
It’s not exactly like Kelenic has had a shining Spring Training either, in 30 at-bats, Kelenic is whiffing a crisp .067 average with two hits and a stolen base. So maybe all is even amongst the trade Gods. 

Quick Notes:

  • Lucas Giolito will undergo elbow surgery as his season is likely over. Giolito’s injury is described as a ‘ligament’ injury and will undergo surgery on Tuesday. The extent of Giolito’s injury is unknown as he has seeked a second opinion before his operation. 
  • The San Francisco Giants released J.D. Davis. San Francisco placed Davis on waivers over the weekend after failing to find a trade partner for the corner infielder. The signing of Matt Chapman and Jorge Soler spelled the end of Davis’ tenure in the Bay Area.
  • Glasnow and Darvish will start for L.A. and San Diego in Korea for Opening Day. Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Joe Musgrove will go head-to-head in game two of the MLB World Tour: Seoul Series.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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