Yanks' Judge confident on playing opener, Rays' Bradley scratched, Reds' Montas to start opener

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Aaron Judge says he’s pretty sure discomfort in his abdomen that sidelined him this week won't cause him to miss the New York Yankees' March 28 opener at Houston.

The 31-year-old said he started to feel discomfort on the follow-through of his swing about a week ago. He last played Sunday, striking out in both at-bats, and said he expects to resume swinging a bat this week. He had an MRI on Monday.

“We ran tests. Everything comes back good,” Judge said Tuesday. "A little banged up. The most important thing is opening day, and I rather take some days now and be smart about it.”

Judge missed 42 games last season with a torn ligament in his right big toe, an injury sustained when he ran into Dodger Stadium’s right-field fence on June 3, He started his offseason hitting program in November.

“I think just from swinging from November all the way until now every single day kind of get some wear and tear on it,” Judge said. “And especially coming back after a toe injury when you’re trying to, you know, mechanics are a little messed up and you’re just working on something. So I think it’s just part of being a baseball player every day.”

Also at Yankees camp Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone said while the team still was awaiting tests on the right elbow of AL Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole, it would be difficult for the ace to build up enough to start the opener.

RAYS' BRADLEY SCRATCHED

Rays right-hander Taj Bradley was scratched from a scheduled start at Sarasota, Florida, and sent for an MRI after experiencing pectoral tightness while warming up.

The Rays were relying on the 22-year-old Bradley to win a job in the starting rotation.

Manager Kevin Cash said he's optimistic the injury to Bradley's right pectoral muscle was caught before it becomes serious, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Cash said he should know more Wednesday.

Bradley threw more than 50 pitches in his only start this spring training.

MONTAS TO START REDS' OPENER

Reds manager David Bell said Frankie Montas’ preparation and commitment helped the 30-year-old right-hander earn Cincinnati’s opening day start against Washington on Monday.

Cincinnati signed Montas to a $16 million, one-year deal, hoping his surgically repaired shoulder will allow him to have an impact in a starting rotation alongside young pitchers like Hunter Greene, who will start game 2.

Montas started openers with Oakland in 2020 and 2022 but was limited to one appearance last year with the Yankees. After recovering from shoulder surgery in February, Montas threw 26 pitches over 1 1/3 innings while getting a win at Kansas City on the final weekend of the season.

“Frankie did a great job of coming in ready for camp,” Bell said. “He did stand out, with his level of preparation when he got here."

JOBE'S HEAT

Jackson Jobe, a 21-year-old right-hander taken by Detroit with the third overall pick in the 2021 amateur draft, made his spring training debut and reached 101.8 mph.

He struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth against Minnesota, throwing his fastest pitch on a ball to Dylan Neuse that broughy the count to 1-2. Neuse took a full-count called third strike and Willie Joe Garry Jr. fanned on three pitches, the last a changeup.

Jobe was 2-4 with a 2.81 ERA in 16 starts with four minor league teams last year, striking out 84 and walking six in 64 innings.

MIGGY

Miguel Cabrera was back in camp with the Tigers at Lakeland, Florida, as the organization's newest special assistant.

The Tigers wanted the likely Hall of Famer to stay with the club as an assistant after his retirement last season. He intends to be in camp for the rest of this week.

“As he walked into the building, into the room, all the guys were really excited,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “So it’s a perfect time to bring his energy and his laugh to the field.”

“I’m feeling good. I feel like I gave everything I had in baseball,” said the 40-year-old Cabrera, who played 21 big league seasons. “Right now I can say, ‘OK, that’s enough.’"

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