Judge Looking To Get His Timing Back

SCRANTON, PA - There were some concerned fans when Aaron Judge missed nearly a week and a half of game action a couple of weeks ago. It turned out to be just a minor back issue though and both Judge and the Yankees were being overly cautious with his return. Now back with the team, he's just looking to get his timing back at the plate.

"We were stretching in Louisville before the game and I felt my back tighten a little bit," said the former 2013 first round pick for the Yankees. "The coaches just told me to wait a day to see if it gets better and just to rest."

A day turned into nearly a week and a half, however. This was Judge's first setback with the Rail Riders. Before the injury, he was batting .275 in 21 games with the team. The Yankees wanted to be very cautious with their top slugging prospect.

"The coaching staff didn't want me to try to play through it and make it worse," Judge added. "Especially getting toward the end of the season, they didn't want it to get any worse. They just told me to sit out a few games, work on a little core strength and get back out there in a couple days."

However, the former three time first team All-Conference for Fresno State University trusted that the injury was just "minor tightness in the back" and isn't much of a concern going forward. "It wasn't anything too bad." Additionally, the only rehab he worked on with the Rail Rider training staff was strengthening his core.

"The biggest thing I worked on for those days when I was out was core stability, that's the most important thing. I feel like it's helped out so far," Judge said.

It has now been a little more than a week since his return from the back injury and Judge has tapered off a bit at the plate. He went hitless in four of his first six games back but Judge is confident that if he continues to play the game his way, he will only get better.

"Truly, I just have to stick to my approach, that's the biggest thing. The pitcher is always trying to get you off your approach and try and make you swing at their pitch.

"I just try and sit back and wait for a pitch to drive people in. If I don't get that pitch, I stay patient and get my walks when I can and know that the eight guys around me are going to get the job done," Judge said.

Judge's average has slipped a bit since he has returned from injury, but that might be expected from any player who missed a week of action right in the apex of a season. However, Judge did point out, now that even though he has played a few games and is "getting comfortable," there is a difference between Double-A and Triple-A ball.

"The biggest difference from Double-A is the pitching. The game speeds up a little bit, especially with the veteran pitchers, a lot of veteran pitchers pitched in the Majors on down and they are not going to give in to anything. My job is to not swing at their pitch and try and get something to drive. That's probably the biggest adjustment I've had to make," Judge said.

That adjustment is obviously going to take time. Going from hitting .284 in Double-A to .262, in about half the sample size, during this current run in Scranton proves that point.

But, the former 2012 College World Series home run derby champion continued his positive stance on his position with the Rail Riders.

"Once you play a few games you relax. I've played with some of these guys in Spring Training which is making the transition a little easier."

Nearly everyone agrees that fans should not be overly concerned about Judge's recent minor setback. There is a lot of room to grow and a lot of time to develop. Maybe that is the biggest ally for a player with a ton of upside; time. Even Judge admitted that has a lot of growth left to do.

"I can improve on everything; defense, base-running, and sticking to my approach. You always got something to work on."

As far as the expectations for the first place Rail Riders go, Judge is shooting for the stars as any athlete would.

"Win a championship. That's always the first goal. We are in first place right now and we are going to try and keep that rolling. It's a good time to be hot," he concluded.

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