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Aaron Judge blasts home run in first intrasquad action following stiff neck: ‘We’re all good’

Any lingering concern over Aaron Judge’s recent absence from the Yankees’ intrasquad lineups seemed to be resolved in the first inning of Wednesday’s scrimmage at Yankee Stadium, when the slugger blasted a long home run to center field off teammate James Paxton.

Judge had missed the Bombers’ last three intrasquad contests while receiving treatment for a stiff neck. He deposited the second pitch he saw from Paxton onto the netting that covers Monument Park, then worked a walk against Paxton during his second plate appearance.

“Sometimes you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed; that’s all I’ve really got for that,” Judge said. “The trainers have been helping me out. It’s just a stiff neck. My biggest thing is I couldn’t really turn my neck all the way to see the pitcher, and that’s not where you want to be. So now I can see the pitcher and we’re ready to roll.”

It was another encouraging sign for the 28-year-old Judge, who went 1-for-2 while playing right field in the contest and has voiced confidence that he will be ready for the July 23 opener against the Nationals in Washington, D.C.

“I’ve been there, in the course of the season, where your neck gets jammed up on you,” manager Aaron Boone said. “You can kind of fight through it and sometimes it leads to some bad habits. I was confident, especially the way he was progressing each day, that he would get to this point. It’s always nice to see the big fella go out the front door.”

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