Tagged in: Aaron Judge

New York Yankees not worried about Aaron Judge’s mental or physical state in his quest for 62 home runs

Aaron Judge has been a mainstay in the New York Yankees’ lineup all season as he keep to put up numbers that could define his MVP-caliber 2022 season as one of the best ever.

Manager Aaron Boone, however, isn’t concern about the mental or physical state of his All-Star outfielder before the playoffs while he is steeped in the chase for home run history.

Judge is one home run from tying Roger Maris’ American League single-season record of 61, but he has played in 45 consecutive matches — he also played 47 straight earlier this season. In total, he has played 147 of the Yankees’ 151 games, and he has 73 starts in center field, which is a career high.

“Hopefully, we can continue to kind of stack up some wins here and put ourselves in a position to where, in the last week, [we can] rest,” Boone said before Saturday’s 7-5 win, in which Judge went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts versus the Boston Red Sox.

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“Paying attention to not just Aaron, but to all the guys and what their needs are. I feel like [Judge] is in a good spot, as fresh as you can be mentally. I don’t think this has been something that’s worn him down. Because if I felt like it was, and he needed a day, I would give it to him.”

Boone stated Judge has benefited not only from the rest days built into the schedule of late — the Yankees had three days off during their latest road trip — but noted that Judge’s physical conditioning and durability are better than last year.

“That’s a unique part of the schedule that I think served [Judge] and us well,” Boone said. “But coupled with the fact that, I think, this year, more than last year where he remained remarkably healthy, there were still days where I knew he was a little beat up and felt like he needed something. It’s been a little cleaner throughout. There were some true strategic [days off] early in the middle of the year around some off days that hopefully served him well.”

Boone stated Judge’s chase for history hasn’t worn him down mentally, either.

“I don’t think it has taken that mental toll, because you are always paying attention to that with players,” Boone said. “Sometimes you feel like a guy does need a break. I haven’t felt that to be the case [with Judge].

“I think it’s the evolution of him. He’s done a better job knowing he doesn’t have to do everything every day. He knows how to preserve and save some bullets, especially when you get into the second half of the season and some of the dog days. He’s really learned how to prepare and understanding that, especially physically, that less is more a lot of times.”

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Mets top Yanks 6-3 in Subway Series matchup of leaders

Eduardo Escobar hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer that capped a four-run, first-inning rally, and the New York Mets defeated the Yankees 6-3 Tuesday night in a rare Subway Series matchup of first-place teams.

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo quieted many of the 42,364 fans at Citi Field in the first inning with opposite-field home runs on consecutive pitches from Taijuan Walker (8-2).

But the Mets stormed right back in the bottom half when Starling Marte homered with one out against Jordan Montgomery (3-3). Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso permitted with back-to-back doubles, and Escobar’s two-run, two-out homer put the Mets ahead 4-2.

The Mets, who won four of six games versus the Yankees last year, held on for a victory before just their third home sellout this year, what they hoped is a World Series rehearsal. Both teams had been in first place when they met in only one previous season, a three-game series from April 24-26, 2015, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“If we’re playing against each other in November, that would be awesome,” Alonso said. “If that happens, the city will just be on fire.”

Two of baseball’s big boppers went head to head. Judge’s major league-high 38th home run gave him 82 RBI, tying for the big league lead. Alonso surged back ahead with his 83rd in the bottom half and went 3 for 3 with a walk. The Yankees arrived a big league-best 66-31 with a 12 1/2-game AL East lead. The Mets had the second-best National League mark at 59-37 and a two-game NL East edge over Atlanta.

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Former Met and Yankee Darryl Strawberry threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Chants of “Let’s Go Mets!” started 10 minutes before the first pitch and the Yankees were booed when their lineup was announced.

“This year, obviously, seems even bigger with both teams doing as well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “During a 162-game season, the grind of it, these kind of series, especially as we enter the dog days of summer and things like that, are series that gives give guys a little shot in the arm, a little life.”

Walker improved to 5-0 in his last eight starts, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Adam Ottovino got five outs, and Edwin Díaz struck out four for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

The Yankees put two on with one out in the ninth when Jose Trevino reached on an infield hit and Díaz dropped the ball for an error while throwing to second on Judge’s comebacker. Díaz struck out Rizzo and Gleyber Torres.

Montgomery, 0-2 in last seven starts, allowed five runs — four earned — and five hits, needing 71 pitches for seven outs. When Boone came to the mound to remove him, he stared at his manager and appeared to mouth: “Why?”

The Yankees went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and hurt themselves with a pair of outs on the bases: Isiah Kiner-Falefa was picked off in the first and Rizzo was caught at second on an attempted double steal in the seventh.

Judge and Rizzo combined for the Yankees’ 14th back-to-back homers, tying the team record set in 2009. The drive into the right-field bullpens made Judge 10 for 20 with five homers in a span of 20 at-bats. Rizzo ended a 14-game homerless streak with his 23rd this season.

Walker had not previously permitted a home run at Citi Field this year

The Mets opened a 5-2 lead in the third when third baseman Josh Donaldson hit Francisco Lindor with a throw near first base, and the ball caromed into right field as Marte scored from second.

The Yankees got a run back on DJ LeMahieu’s RBI grounder in the fourth but left the bases loaded when Rizzo flied out to Brandon Nimmo a step in front of the center-field wall.

Jeff McNeil ended an 0-for-19 rut with a run-scoring single off Albert Abreu in the eighth.

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Judge, Stanton homer to bail out Taillon, Yanks top A’s 5-3

Giancarlo Stanton has seen trailing teams lose their fight a few times in his 13 big league seasons. Just not with these New York Yankees.

“We find a way to figure it out every night,” Stanton said. “We’re just like, pushing the envelope, boom-boom-boom, until the game’s over.”

Stanton and Aaron Judge homered to fuel New York’s major league-best 24th comeback triumph, bailing out Jameson Taillon in a 5-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.

The Yankees completed a three-game sweep of baseball’s worst team and improved to 56-20, matching the 2001 Mariners and 1998 Yankees for baseball’s best 76-game start since 1930.

Taillon gave up three runs in the first inning, but Judge countered with a two-run drive in the first and Stanton hit a three-run homer in the third against Cole Irvin.

The Yankees are 25-1 when Judge and Stanton homer in the same game, including 9-0 this season.

Taillon (9-1) grinded through five innings, and Clay Holmes pitched the ninth for his 14th save to end a seven-game homestand. Next, New York starts a season-high 11-day, 10-game trip with one game in Houston — a quirk of the sport’s reconfigured schedule after a lockout delayed opening day.

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Judge’s homer was his major league-leading 29th, and his past five have come with New York either trailing or tied.

He’s on pace for 62 this campaign, which would be most in the majors since Stanton hit 59 in 2017.

“It’d be great if it happened,” Judge said. “It’ll be something that’s pretty cool, but I think having a ring on my finger at the end of the year would be even better.”

“Definitely capable of doing it,” Stanton said about his teammate’s chances of reaching 60.

Stanton reached for Irvin’s changeup off the outside edge of the plate and swatted it over the right-field wall. It was Stanton’s 19th homer of the season, with five in his past six games.

“Hit it like only him and Judgey can kind of hit it that way,” manager Aaron Boone said.

The Yankees have 57 homers in June, surpassing the 2016 Orioles and 2019 Braves for most ever in the month.

Irvin (2-6) permitted six hits, but he covered seven innings with 103 pitches.

Taillon struggled against a lineup that didn’t include any player with a batting average higher than .234. Seth Brown’s one-out double sparked a three-run first inning, which included a two-run double by Stephen Piscotty and a run-scoring single by Elvis Andrus.

Taillon labored after that, too, but didn’t give up any more runs. He stranded six runners over his final four innings, including the bases loaded in the second. He permitted seven hits, struck out six and walked two.

“I knew that my delivery felt good today, I thought the stuff was still good,” Taillon said. “I just had to sharpen up the command a little bit.”

Taillon also drudged through his previous start, allowing six runs over 5 2/3 innings against Houston in a game New York came back to win 7-6. The past two outings have spiked Taillon’s ERA from 2.70 to 3.32.

Piscotty had two hits, his first since returning from the injured list Tuesday from a calf strain. “In his last two nights, his at-bats have looked good,” A’s manager Kotsay said.

“He’s a professional hitter, he’s got a track record and any type of success is great for any hitter, regardless of the time they’ve been off or what they’re going through offensively.”

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Torres hit in 9th, Yanks win 10th in row, beat Blue Jays 3-2

Gleyber Torres homered early, then hit a go-ahead single in the ninth inning as the New York Yankees earned their 10th consecutive game, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 Monday night.

Giancarlo Stanton singled off Yimi Garcia (0-2) to start the New York ninth, ending a streak of four perfect innings by Blue Jays relievers. Pinch-runner Tim Locastro stole second, but Josh Donaldson grounded out and Aaron Hicks struck out before Torres lined a single to center field.

Clay Holmes (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win and Chad Green worked a perfect ninth for his first save in three chances.

Torres opened the scoring with a two-out, two-run drive off Ross Stripling in the fourth, his third homer of the season.

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The Yankees won for the 12th time in 13 games and improved their MLB-leading record to 17-8.

The Blue Jays dropped to 9-3 in one-run games.

New York put runners at the corners with one out in the third but Stripling struck out Aaron Judge and got Anthony Rizzo to fly out. Judge had homered in his past three games, and had hit five home runs in his previous five games.

Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery faced the minimum through three innings but the Blue Jays tied it in the bottom of the fourth. George Springer singled and scored on Bo Bichette’s RBI double. Bichette advanced on a fly ball and later scored on Matt Chapman’s two-out single.

Chapman struck out against Jonathan Loáisiga to end the sixth, stranding Bichette at third.

Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk drew a leadoff walk against reliever Miguel Castro in the seventh and Tyler Heineman hit a two-out double, but Holmes came on and got Springer to ground out.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit back-to-back singles off Holmes in the eighth but Chapman grounded into an inning-ending double play, Toronto’s third of the game.

Montgomery gave up two runs and six hits in five-plus innings. He walked none and struck out five. Stripling permitted two runs and five hits in four innings. He walked none and struck out three.

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Aaron Judge to receive extension offer from New York Yankees, ‘pencils down’ by Opening Day, GM Brian Cashman says

New York Yankees star slugger Aaron Judge will soon get a proposal for a long-term contract extension, general manager Brian Cashman stated Saturday.

“Between now and opening day we’ll make an offer and he’ll obviously receive an offer and all the conversions will have taken place and will either resolve into a multiyear deal or it won’t,” Cashman said.

“We’re committed. We’ll make an offer and hear what he has to say in response and then it will be pencils down before opening day,” he said.

The Yankees open on April 7 at home versus the Boston Red Sox.

Judge said Saturday he was “pretty sure” he doesn’t want to negotiate a new contract during the regular season. The outfielder, who turns 30 next month, is eligible to become a free agent after the World Series.

“We haven’t decided yet, but for right now that’s what we’ve got,” Judge said. “I want to be here. Get a chance to play here for quite a few more years, that would be great. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m not too worried.”

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The Yankees and Judge so far have failed to reach a deal for 2022, which could result in the two sides heading into arbitration during the season. He asked for a raise from $10,175,000 to $21 million, and the Yankees offered $17 million.

“Our position has always been, we wind up only in a hearing if we’re dragged there,” Cashman said. “We only go when forced to go. We’re not afraid of going. Our history shows that we stay out of that arena unless we’re compelled to get there. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

Judge, who hit .287 with 39 homers and 98 RBI in 148 games last season, hopes an agreement can be reached to avoid arbitration.

“Go back and forth until we, maybe, can settle on something before the court date and if not, we’ll see each other in court,” Judge said.

Judge said the contract talk isn’t a distraction. “Not really, I’m a baseball player,” he said.

“I’m going to come out and do my usual on the field. I’ve got people that are going to worry about the other stuff for me and put me in the right position and give me the right answers. If I take care of what I’ve got to do on the field, everything is going to workout.”

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Slumping Yankees rally from early hole to down Indians 6-3

Rougned Odor’s two-out, two-run single broke a seventh-inning tie — and maybe jarred New York from its hitting funk — and sent the Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.

Odor was batting just .107 and in a 3-for-28 slide when he came up versus Nick Wittgren (0-1). He slapped his single through the middle to score Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres to break a 3-3 tie as the Yankees got just their second win in eight matches.

Kyle Higashioka homered in the eighth for New York, which entered with its worst record to open a season since 1991, when Stump Merrill managed and Don Mattingly manned first base.

Domingo Germán (1-2) returned from a demotion to the alternate training site and shook off falling behind 3-0 in the first. He lasted six innings and won the first time since serving a suspension under baseball’s domestic violence policy that started in September 2019 and ended his season with an 18-4 record.

Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green combined for two innings of relief, and Aroldis Chapman struck out the side around a walk in the ninth for his third save.

The Yankees came in batting an AL-worst .205, embarrassing for a team loaded with talent and boasting a $200 million payroll.

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Boone tweaked his lineup — and rested struggling sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sánchez — in hopes of sparking his team.

“I remain really confident that our group is going to turn this around offensively and I look forward to the fun that comes along with that,” Boone said before the game. “We’re not doing what I know we will do.”

The Indians, who lost to New York in last season’s wild-card round, have dropped four of five and soured manager Terry Francona’s 62nd birthday.

Germán didn’t look as if he’d be around for long after giving up three runs in the first. But the right-hander, who was recalled from the alternate site before the game, settled in and held the Indians scoreless on two hits over the next five innings.

The Indians scored three times in the first off Germán, who committed an error on a comebacker that could have been an inning-ending double play but he dropped. Left fielder Brett Gardner also failed to hold onto a sinking liner that started things.

Eddie Rosario, Josh Naylor and Franmil Reyes drove in runs as the Indians gave Aaron Civale an early 3-0 cushion. The Yankees, though, responded in the third on RBI singles by DJ LeMahieu and Torres, whose shot toward the gap was mishandled by right fielder Josh Naylor, permitting a second run to score.

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Aaron Judge first Yankee in 13 years to homer in 5 straight

Aaron Judge homered for the fifth straight game Sunday, becoming the first New York Yankees player in 13 years to accomplish the feat.

The big slugger connected off left-handed reliever Matt Hall in the second inning, sending a three-run drive off the second deck in left field at Yankee Stadium to give New York a 3-2 lead over the Boston Red Sox. Judge went deep again in the eighth, blasting a two-run shot off Matt Barnes to give the Yankees their final two runs in a 9-7 victory.

“I really think he’s on a mission right now,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. The previous Yankees hitter to go deep in five consecutive games was Alex Rodriguez in September 2007.

Judge joined A-Rod as the only players in club history to hit five home runs in the first eight games of a season. Rodriguez also did that in 2007.

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With no fans allowed at Yankee Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic, teammates in the dugout were easily heard bellowing in excitement when Judge connected.

“Not locked in yet. Still trying to find it,” Judge said. “I’m feeling good.”

Judge, who used the coronavirus hiatus to rehab a fractured first right rib and subsequent punctured lung, entered the shortened season with a clean bill of health. 

“He’s healthy, man. He’s a stud,” Yankees first baseman Luke Voit said. “He’s in a groove right now. It’s a guy that you don’t want to take your eyes off when he’s hitting.”

Judge had never homered in four games in a row until he connected during Saturday’s 5-2 triumph over Boston. The two-time All-Star led the American League with 52 home runs in 2017, when he was the AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up for MVP. Limited by injuries the past two years, Judge hit 27 homers each campaign.

The home runs Sunday gave Judge six homers and 14 RBIs in eight games this year.

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Yankees’ Aaron Judge out another day with stiff neck

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was held out of action for a second consecutive day Sunday due to a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year was scratched from a simulated match Saturday after waking up with a sore neck, and the right fielder was not included in either lineup for an intrasquad scrimmage Sunday.

New York manager Aaron Boone stated Judge got treatment at Yankee Stadium on Sunday and was improving.

“Just thought it was better not to push through it today,” Boone said.

The Yankees are set to open a pandemic-shortened season July 23 at Washington. Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and used the coronavirus hiatus to recover.

He had been swinging at full strength for at least a couple of weeks before camp opened and had been a full-go in intrasquad action over the past week.

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The 6-foot-7 star has missed time each of the past two campaigns.

He broke his right wrist on a hit-by-pitch in 2018 and went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

When he’s been on the field, Judge has proved himself to be one of the sport’s most complete players, but staying healthy has been an issue the last two seasons. After playing in 155 games in 2017 — when he won AL Rookie of the Year honors going away and finished second in the MVP voting — Judge was limited to 112 games in 2018 and 102 games in 2019 because of different injuries.

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka played catch Sunday to 100 feet and is ramping up his cardio but remains in concussion protocol. The Japanese starter was hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton’s 112 mph line drive eight days ago. Boone is still unclear when Tanaka will return to the mound.

Boone said Clint Frazier is expected to resume playing the outfield this week after being limited to designated hitter so far due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

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Yankees didn’t expect Aaron Judge back from rib injury until summer

The wait until Aaron Judge is given a clean bill of health remains. 

On a charity video call Thursday morning, Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman revealed that despite growing optimism regarding the slugger’s return, he never expected Judge to be back in game shape until the “summertime.” 

“I always felt it was more likely that we wouldn’t see Judge until the summertime,” the GM explained as reporters like Brendan Kuty of NJ.com listened in.

Cashman’s appearance on the Zoom call benefited Family Centers’ Emergency Family Assistance Fund, as all proceeds will go to providing financial relief to Fairfield County residents affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Judge was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his first right rib in early-March, an injury believed to date back to a diving catch attempt in September of last season. Pain in Judge’s right shoulder and pectoral muscle was first reported to the team just before Spring Training started.

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It was later revealed Judge had since recovered from a collapsed lung – an additional setback believed to have been sustained on that fateful play in the outfield last fall.

Judge confirmed he had fully recouped from the pneumothorax midway through March.

The right fielder was forced to sit out all of New York’s Grapefruit League schedule, barely participating in Spring Training workouts. Since MLB’s coronavirus-induced shutdown started, shortly after his cracked rib was diagnosed, the star has remained in Tampa rehabbing at the Yankees’ facility.

He was quickly ruled out for Opening Day, but with the season pushed back due to COVID-19, skipper Aaron Boone was “hopeful” the former Rookie of the Year Award winner could be ready.  Evidently this rare injury is on a longer timetable than the organization and fans alike had hoped. Then again, with MLB’s latest proposal calling for an Opening Day on July 1, the GM isn’t completely ruling out Judge’s readiness as his rib continues to heal. 

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Yankees to have scan, but Aaron Boone upbeat

Aaron Judge is still not out of the woods yet regarding the fractured rib discovered during spring training, according to a source.

The right fielder is scheduled for another CT scan this month and the injury continues to heal.

The Yankees hope to see continued improvement, but while Judge expressed optimism about an early return after the injury was uncovered, the organization thinks he would be out until June or July.

The time frame may prove to be immaterial, since the delay to the start of the regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made the possibility of any matches prior to then extremely unlikely.

In the meantime, Judge’s rib “continues to heal” and the source stated there had been no setbacks.

There remains no formal plan for Major League Baseball to return after the sport was shut down by the coronavirus.

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At the time the injuries — the rib fracture and a punctured lung — were discovered, Judge indicated he expected to be out at least through March. Both injuries are believed to have been suffered on a diving play in right field in September.

The other injured Yankees who may have missed extended part of the regular campaign had it started on time are doing well, Boone said.

Giancarlo Stanton has recovered from the strained calf that sidelined him during the spring and Boone thinks “he should be good to go whenever we get ready to go back.”

Aaron Hicks, who underwent Tommy John surgery following last year’s playoffs, figures to be out until June or July, but Boone had encouraging news on the center fielder.

“He’s doing well,’’ Boone said of the switch hitter. “He’s already doing soft toss from both sides of the plate and throwing 90-plus feet. He’s trending in a really good direction.”

“His rehab has gone really, really well,’’ Boone said.

In the meantime, Boone said he continues to check in on his players and is convinced they will be prepared for whatever this unusual season might have in store.

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