Yankees star Aaron Judge will see his first action of the spring Wednesday, but won’t be at 100 percent until the games truly matter.
Judge told ESPN.com on Monday his surgically repaired left shoulder is a “work in progress until Opening Day.” He’s taken part in practice and live BP sessions, but sat out the team’s first four games of spring training.
Judge said the pain in his shoulder began in July, but refused to blame his dip in production after the All-Star break on the injury. He underwent arthroscopic surgery earlier this offseason.
That unpredictable weather Wednesday seems like a fitting beginning to a season that figures to be full of unpredictability for Ohtani and the Angels. It’s not that anyone doubts Ohtani’s baseball talents. His right arm is a thunderbolt on the mound. The baseball jumps off his bat at the plate. These things are undeniable.
But Ohtani, a left-handed hitter who turns 24 in July, wants to do both things, like he did when he was a superstar with the Fighters. He wants to be a regular in both the Angels’ rotation and in the Angels’ lineup. That’s not exactly a normal thing in Ohtani’s new league. Sure, there are a handful of guys who have done both things in the majors — Rick Ankiel, Brooks Kieschnick and Adam Loewen — but they didn’t do both simultaneously (OK, Kieschnick did make three starts in the outfield and four at DH when he was a relief pitcher with the Brewers in 2003).
But Rockies prospect Colton Welker had an incredible perspective no other player could match: He says he rode the school bus for three years with the alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz.
“I went to middle school with him, I rode the bus with him for three years,” Welker said (via the Denver Post). “It was a complete shock.”
The minor league third baseman is a 2016 graduate of Stoneman Douglas High School, where he played on a state championship team in 2016.
“You read about it on the news and think, ‘Oh that’s miserable, that’s terrible.’ And it breaks your heart,” Welker told the Post. “But when it happens in your hometown, I was really thrown back. I was in shock. Total disbelief.”
Welker says he knew several of the 17 victims in the shooting, including Aaron Feis, the football coach who has been hailed as a hero for saving students, and athletic director Chris Hixon.