Aaron Judge said it’s “obvious” he won’t be fully healthy the rest of the season while he deals with a strained left oblique, but he will return as soon as possible.
“You don’t have time to get all the way there,’’ Judge said Friday before the Yankees opened their series against the Rays in The Bronx. “It’s the season. You’ve got to get back. Once I’m healthy enough to get back in games, I’ll get back out there.”
He still hasn’t resumed baseball activities, and Carlos Beltran, a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman, said Thursday an oblique injury like the one Judge suffered on April 20 will impact him all year. The two recently had a conversation about it.
“I’ll know when the time comes,’’ Judge said Friday. “I can’t give you a formula. It’s all feel.”
Judge also had a recent conversation with team owner Hal Steinbrenner, who told the Associated Press on Friday they would take their time with the right fielder amid all the injury woes with the team.
Like Judge, Steinbrenner hopes the slugger returns soon, but added: “We don’t push this process. We want to see them the second half of the year and more than just the second half of the year. So we’re going to make sure we do it right, we do it carefully and we don’t push the process.”
Steinbrenner also praised the Yankees for having withstood 17 players being on the injured list already.
“Considering the adversity we’ve faced in the first two months of the season, it’s phenomenal the job these guys have done,” Steinbrenner said. “We just need to make sure that when we bring somebody back we don’t put somebody back on. That’s been the trend, unfortunately.”
And he’s also been impressed by Aaron Boone.
“He’s calm and cool,” Steinbrenner said of the manager. “He’s kept it all together.”
James Paxton threw another bullpen session and took fielding practice on Friday, but won’t return to the rotation on Sunday, according to Boone.
Instead, the left-hander, who’s on the 10-day injured list with left knee inflammation, is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Sunday and then could come back at some point on the upcoming road trip, which begins Monday in Baltimore. The Yankees could go with an opener or a bullpen day against Tampa Bay on Sunday, Boone said.
Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement) threw 25 tosses from flat ground from 90 feet and said the plan is for him to make 50 throws from that distance on Sunday.
Boone said he wasn’t overly concerned about the Yankees having played just one day over the previous four heading into Friday, thanks to postponements Monday and Tuesday and a scheduled day off Thursday. They swept a doubleheader Wednesday against the Orioles.
“Nothing gets altered much,’’ Boone said of the pregame routine. “We prepare like we always do.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and his father, Jack Harbaugh, were at the game and chatted with Boone during batting practice.