Aaron Judge’s first exhibition homer is a monster wholesale jerseys
As he often does when he gets hold of one, Aaron Judge put his head down as he began his home run trot. That’s why he wasn’t exactly sure where the ball went.
Aaron Boone, on the other hand, saw it all.
Judge hit his first homer of spring training Sunday in the Yankees’ 7-5 loss to the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium, crushing a 3-and-1 fastball from touted righthanded prospect Sandy Alcantara.
The ball landed in the balcony area of the Marlins’ office building in left-center, a building that Judge cleared during batting practice with a drive that had coaches behind the batting cage looking at each other in disbelief.
“He just missed it,” Boone deadpanned of the in-game homer.
Judge, playing in back-to-back games for the first time in spring training, went 1-for-4. He grounded out and struck out twice before the blast.
“I was just glad I felt good in the box,” said Judge, who is 4-for-16 with three walks and six strikeouts in seven games. “I was swinging at the right pitches, especially with the guy on the mound [Alcantara], who gets it up to probably about 100 [mph]. Just wanted to make sure I stayed disciplined and stayed in my zone.”
Because of arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder Nov. 21, Judge was held back a bit in drills early in spring training and missed the first five exhibition games.
For that reason, he said this feels a bit different from 2017, when he engaged in a neck-and-neck battle with Aaron Hicks for the starting job in rightfield. The competition went down to the final days of camp before Judge won it.
“I was a little further along in spring last year [at this time] just because I didn’t have the injuries,” he said. “I had the whole spring to get my swing ready for the season. Right now, I’m still working on my swing. I’m a little behind in that aspect, but I’m just trying to be ready for Opening Day.”
All that’s left, Judge said, is to get his timing down at the plate.
“It’s getting there,” he said. “We’re still two weeks out [from the regular season], so you don’t want to peak too early. Still tinkering with some things. Still a work in progress.”
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Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge give the Yankees a day to dream on
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton had fouled back a first-inning Matt Harvey pitch, vicious enough to shatter a thick, press box window.
“Gave them a clear view of the game,’’ said Stanton wryly, after being told about the damage.
At a nearby locker, Brett Gardner heard that quote and quipped: “He needs to hit them the other way. I can hit the press box.’’
Stanton accomplished that during his third at-bat Saturday, putting a short swing on a Harvey fastball that sailed well over the right-center field wall – his first homer of the spring.
“I needed earplugs at first base,’’ Aaron Judge said of that smash, during the Yankees’ 10-3 exhibition romp over the Mets at Steinbrenner Field. “He didn’t try to do too much, just drove it out to right. A thing of beauty.’’
Coming mostly at Harvey’s expense, it was an encouraging day for the Yankees’ towering duo.
Stanton’s initial Yankee homer was a two-run shot, and Judge – after a 1-for-10 Grapefruit League start – singled, doubled and walked in three plate appearances, showing improved timing.
And Gardner singled sharply in his first two at-bats, scoring twice and stoking the spirited flames.
“I think their competitive juices were going, they had some good banter,’’ said manager Aaron Boone. “It was good to see those three, especially. Just quality at-bats all day.’’
To the sheer joy of Yankees fans, and the dismay of Mets fans, Stanton said this about his second at-bat against Harvey, when he struck out after fouling off consecutive fastballs: “The two before, I should have crushed.’’
Judge’s first extra-base hit of the year was a double, hammered into the left field corner in his second at-bat.
The first time up, Judge bounced a single to left and alertly advanced to second – arriving with a head-first slide – as Gardner drew a throw, running from first to third.
“I can’t think about that,’’ Judge said of possibly jarring his surgically repaired left shoulder by diving around the bases or the field. “’I’m just going to give it 100 percent. I don’t see any problems.’’
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So, even without Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird, it was a day to dream about the Yankee lineup’s potential, and how they might be stacked during the regular season.
Boone seems to like the idea of having both Judge and Stanton batting in the first inning, with Bird possibly batting before Sanchez against right-handed starters.
“Nothing’s finalized,’’ Boone said. “It could be something that’s fluid throughout the year,’’ based on matchups and certain players being rested.
“You don’t know which one’s going to be the best (lineup),’’ Stanton said. “It’s good to have a lefty in between us also, so it’s even harder on the pitcher (or) the opposing manager’s sequence, bringing in (relievers).
“We’ll find the way it works best.’’
Just don’t expect Stanton to add to the narrative, when the topic of Mantle-Maris battle with Judge to a 60-homer season is brought up.
“It’s definitely possible, but that’s not the goal,’’ Stanton said. “So, don’t ask me numbers and stuff like that because that’s not the goal.’’
Stanton had made a little adjustment with his shoulder, staying inside the ball when he blasted his homer. “You’ll be seeing a lot of that,’’ Dellin Betances said, watching a clubhouse TV as the ball sailed out.
“They’re into the score at the end of the night,’’ Boone said of Stanton and Judge. “Chances are, if we’re winning a lot of games, I’m sure they’re doing some damage and lighting up that (home run) column as well.’’