Yankees notes: Aaron Judge’s neck still ‘a little stiff’, reaction to Aroldis Chapman’s positive COVID test

Aaron Judge (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

By Joe Pantorno

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone disclosed that slugger Aaron Judge is still dealing with a stiff neck — the reason why he was not a part of team activities on Sunday.

“He’s in getting treatment, getting a little more work,” Boone told reporters via Zoom on Sunday. “He’s still a little stiff. It’s just something that we obviously don’t want to push at this point.”

It was the second-straight day that Judge missed workouts as the Yankees are less than two weeks away from Opening Day on July 23 against the Nationals in Washington, D.C.

It’s expected to be a quick stint on the sidelines, but Judge continues to deal with injury problems.

Had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic delaying the start of the 2020 season, Judge would have missed considerable time to heal from a broken rib suffered back in September. The Yankees did not discover the injury, however, until the spring.

As summer camp began earlier this month, though, Judge was able to get back in the box and on the field to ramp his way back up toward playing ball consistently. So by that formula, Boone has no issues erring on the side of caution.

“I feel like he’s been able to get a lot of work in, a lot of at-bats to this point,” he said. “So I just thought it was better not to push it today but he is doing a little bit better today but still pretty stiff in there.”

Judge’s stiff neck quickly took a backseat over the weekend to the discovery that star closer Aroldis Chapman tested positive for COVID-19. He’s the third Yankee of note to test positive, joining DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa.

It’s a sobering reminder to Boone that his squad needs to continue taking social-distancing protocols seriously.

“Of course, there’s always going to be more that we can do. Hopefully, as time goes by… we can get better and better and more used to and accustomed to being naturally aware of what we can do to take care of ourselves,” Boone said. “As of now, it’s that constant reminder in group settings and individually of trying to make sure guys are being smart and accountable. That’s one area you naturally… you start drifting close to one another. So of course there are more areas where we can be better and hopefully, we continue to do better.”

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