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Not The Weekly Mailbag: Summer Training Begins and What’s Next

By Andy Singer July 3, 2020

Though it almost doesn’t seem real, Summer Training is beginning for MLB teams around the country. While the Yankees have not officially begun their Summer Training yet, many players have been seen arriving to Yankee Stadium throughout the week. The local papers have all snapped shots of Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela walking up the block towards Yankee Stadium, and others like James Paxton and Brett Gardner arriving to the Stadium by car. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, my bio-rhythm has felt off without baseball, and while the fact that the players are arriving to play in July as opposed to February/March still feels strange, I am allowing myself to get excited.

As cool as it was to see the players mentioned above arrive, I got my first true jolt of excitement when I saw the video posted above. Some of you may be wondering why I decided to post a blurry screenshot from a video as the thumbnail for this post on the homepage. After months during which we had almost no update on Aaron Judge’s status, Aaron Judge was seen taking batting practice at a private high school in North Jersey hitting bombs all over the field. A few notes about the video above:

The video above was taken at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, NJ. Don Bosco, for those of you who don’t know, is a prep athletic powerhouse in both baseball and football. I played ball on its baseball field once, and it’s nicer than many pro facilities in both independent ball and the affiliated minor leagues. It makes sense that the Yankees would work to find high-quality fields in the local tri-state area so that players recovering from injuries have a place to work away from the main field at Yankee Stadium. This allows the Yankees to provide similar services to the Spring Training Complex in Tampa, where they have multiple fields at their disposal.

Most importantly, Aaron Judge was taking healthy cuts in the video above. We have no evidence of where those balls were landing, but based on sound and trajectory, at least most of the balls in the clip went out of the park. Judge does not look like someone inhibited by a broken rib, and that is a great thing. I admit to being very skeptical that Judge would be ready to begin the season, but I am pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. Cashman said earlier this week that Judge is on track to start on Opening Day, and this video gives us evidence that Judge has a shot at the Opening Day roster. I’m genuinely excited.

When I saw the video yesterday, I had a minor flip out. Outside of a short hiatus during which I lived in Vermont, I have lived in North Jersey throughout my life. I live 10 minutes from the baseball field at Don Bosco Prep (7 minutes if I drive in a way that would be frowned upon by society at large). I know that the workout was private and likely guarded with some form of security presence, but I still wish I could have sneaked my way through the complex just to get a glimpse of Judge hitting in a human setting. That would have been cool.

Oh, and apparently Mike Ford and Aaron Hicks were there too! We don’t have video of either guy on the premises, but it’s been widely reported that they were with Judge at Don Bosco. As possibly Mike Ford’s most prolific advocate on the internet since 2016, I would have loved to see him hit in a small setting in-person. I also would have liked to see Aaron Hicks throw just one ball to see that he’s ready to return.

With evidence that Hicks and Judge are rounding into form, this means that the Yankees are likely to go into the season relatively healthy. As the Yankees have shown over the last year-and-a-half, don’t hold your breath that they will remain healthy, but it’s really cool to report good news on the injury front for a change. Yankee fans can go back to imagining the juggernaut team we all envisioned during the off-season (sans Luis Severino, sadly).

I’ve derived far more happiness than anyone should from a 50-second video, but I was concerned that the Judge’s chambers might never open this year. To see that Aaron Judge is hitting baseballs around the corner from my home somehow makes an MLB season seem more real.

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As you all will note, we did not run a Weekly Mailbag this week as we did not receive enough questions to make it work. However, as I said last week, I’d like to go back to Weekly Mailbags as soon as we can now that baseball is back. While all of the writers here are posting articles that hopefully interest you, the Weekly Mailbag is your chance to see us write about something that matters to you. All questions and topic ideas even semi-baseball related are welcome. Don’t be shy – email your Mailbag Questions to SSTNReadermail@gmail.com. I usually pick 3 or 4 each week for inclusion in the Weekly Mailbag. Thanks, as always, for reading. Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

#AaronHicks #AaronJudge #MikeFord

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