Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who has been out due to shoulder and chest issues while undergoing a battery of tests, has been diagnosed with a stress fracture of the first right rib, manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Friday.
According to Boone, the injury likely happened in September when Judge hurt himself diving, and shows signs of healing.
The plan for now is for the team to reassess Judge in two weeks to see if the bone is healing, and to hopefully have a timetable at that point. If rest does not work, surgery could be possible, Boone added.
"You could do surgery at some point to remove the rib," Boone said. "So I wouldn't say that's off the table, but that's not -- you wouldn't want to go do that right now, especially if the bone is healing."
Judge spoke about his situation on Thursday.
"One day I'll wake up and the chest is feeling good, next day (the) shoulder is feeling bad," Judge said Thursday, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "Next day, the shoulder is feeling good. It's just kind of back and forth right now. ... I'm pretty frustrated with it. I want to be out there with my team, battling and supporting them on the field. Hopefully that's why we're talking to a lot of doctors, trying to get some answers."
As far as Opening Day, GM Brian Cashman said earlier this week that it was unlikely Judge would be ready, while Boone said Wednesday that it was "premature" to count Judge out.
With Friday's news, though, Opening Day is now off the table.
This all began as a "minor right shoulder problem" after Judge came into spring training healthy on Feb. 17. Then, he was shut down as the Yankees tried to figure out what was wrong with him. Judge had been doing little things while shut down from baseball activity, but there had been no batting practice outside after hitting live in the cage last Thursday.
Prior to the Yankees' game against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, Judge spoke to reporters about his injury, saying that he's optimistic about avoiding surgery, according to Hoch. Doctors have told Judge that his healing is "in the middle part" of the process.
Judge also said that he felt "a crack and pop" in his chest on the diving catch attempt last September, and thought it had healed by November when he resumed workouts.