Cashman optimistic Judge, Stanton, others will be ready for Opening Day

The New York Yankees are getting healthy just in time for the regular season.

General manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that he's optimistic that outfielders Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks, as well as left-hander James Paxton, will be available for Opening Day, though he stopped short of issuing a guarantee.

"We're very optimistic as of right now that maybe (Judge's) proclamation that he would be ready for Opening Day and in the lineup would ring true," Cashman said, according to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic.

Cashman was similarly cautious when it came to Stanton, whom he sees as being available primarily as a designated hitter to start the season.

Judge has been working his way back from a broken rib. He's missed time in 2018 due to a wrist injury and 2019 with an oblique strain.

Stanton has similarly dealt with a number of injuries since the beginning of last season. He was limited to 72 total plate appearances due to biceps, shoulder, and knee ailments. A calf strain has sidelined him since February, and he was originally expected to miss the start of the season before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Paxton underwent back surgery in February to remove a cyst and was originally expected to miss three-to-four months. In late May, the southpaw said he was fully healed and ready to pitch.

Hicks appeared in just 59 games for the Yankees in 2019 because of a lower back strain and then a right flexor strain in his elbow. Tommy John surgery was initially recommended but was later deemed unnecessary.

New York was baseball's most heavily injured team in 2019. Despite the amount of manpower lost to the IL, the Yankees still reached the ALCS but lost to the Houston Astros in six games.

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