New York Yankees All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge should be ready to go if baseball returns in July, but general manager Brian Cashman said the team wasn't expecting him to play before summer.

"Ultimately, the broken rib that Aaron Judge suffered, it's in an area that the blood flow to that region is more difficult," Cashman said Thursday of an attempted catch Sept. 18 against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium. "Blood flow is a significant part of the healing, so that's why the time frame is longer. When it happened, I always felt that we wouldn't see Judge more likely until the summertime.

"But Aaron Judge, like most superstar athletes, (feel as if) they're invincible and like they'll be back sooner than later. I think that his pain threshold is Jeter-like, too.

"He never complains. He never shares that something is bothering him. So obviously when he did show up in the spring and said something's been bothering him, it was an 'uh-oh' moment because he really does not ever complain about anything. And he didn't complain in the wintertime either."

Judge is due to undergo a CT scan of his injured rib later this month. Manager Aaron Boone and Cashman said Judge and Aaron Hicks, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year, likely would be available in 2020.

Cashman said of Judge, "We've had some multiple reimaging that shows the healing, and we'll continue that process that will hopefully continue to show that expected healing moving forward.

"Once we resume play, we're excited and believe that he's going to rejoin us at full capacity. Fortunately, for him he's been able to take advantage of this COVID experience, but he wants to play as much as anybody, and we look forward to getting him back in the lineup.

Cashman added, "Aaron Hicks has been tremendous in terms of his rehab. He's practicing dry swings, he's got a throwing program, and I think him playing center field for the New York Yankees this summer is a legit option."

Left-handed starter James Paxton, who underwent back surgery and was scheduled to be near a return in June, is also on schedule, Cashman said. Paxton has advanced to throwing simulated games at home in Wisconsin.

--Field Level Media

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