TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is strongly leaning toward not taking part in the Home Run Derby at this year’s All-Star Game.
Judge won the derby last season in Miami, went on to hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs in his first full major league season and was a unanimous pick as AL Rookie of the Year,
“A cool experience,” Judge said Thursday. “I enjoyed it all, but I don’t think I really needed to go out there and do it again. I won it once. One and done is good for me.”
Judge was hitting .329 with 30 homers and 66 RBIs at the All-Star break, then batted .179 with seven homers and 16 RBIs with 67 strikeouts in his next 44 games through the end of August.
“The derby wasn’t even that big of a toll, to be honest,” he said. “It’s just like taking BP. It really wasn’t too taxing. I wasn’t trying to swing 110 percent, I was taking a normal 80, 90 percent swing, trying to make contact.”
Judge didn’t completely rule out participation in this year’s derby, scheduled for July 16 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
“It’s a long way away,” Judge said.
Judge had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder Nov. 20 for loose-body removal and cartilage cleanup, said he is on schedule to be ready for opening day March 29 at Toronto. He is 1 for 10 in spring training after going hitless in three at-bats in Thursday’s 7-6 loss to Philadelphia. He was held out of first few exhibition games by the Yankees, who thought he would still have enough time to prepare for the March 29 opener at Toronto.
“We’re right on track,” Judge said. “Shoulder has been feeling good. When I got first got down here, there was still a little soreness left in there, but this past week especially it’s pain-free.”
He isn’t worried about his lack of production.
“For me, that’s usually the last thing that comes to me in spring training,” Judge said.
Judge stayed in the game after his left shoulder struck the outfield wall as he caught Roman Quinn’s fifth-inning fly.
“You kind of hold your breath there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Giancarlo Stanton, Judge’s new teammate and a 2017 Home Run Derby participant, went 1 for 3 and is hitting .316 with no homers in 19 at-bats. He will determine his derby status based on how he feels nearing the break.
“That’s just specifically my body,” Stanton said. “And that’s part of the point. If you don’t feel like you can get up there and have the right rest for the second half, then that does hurt the team.”
The Yankees agreed to one-year contracts with many of their players not yet eligible for arbitration. Catcher Gary Sanchez gets paid at a rate of $620,400 while in the major leagues and $278,950 should he be sent down to the minors. Others agreeing to deals were pitchers Chad Green ($570,800/$229,005), Luis Cessa ($568,925/$171,615), Giovanny Gallegos ($549,575/$144,811), Domingo German ($548,225/$88,900), Ben Heller ($547,475/$96,395) and Jonathan Loaisiga ($545,000/$44,500); infielders Ronald Torreyes ($615,500/$280,950), Gleyber Torres ($545,000/$44,500), Tyler Wade ($551,300/$122,214), Miguel Andujar ($545,800/$88,900) and Thairo Estrada ($545,000/$44,500); and outfielders Clint Frazier ($559,200/$135,943) and Jake Cave ($545,000/$88,900). New York has not yet announced the deals.
Potential opening day starter Luis Severino allowed an unearned run and three hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one.
“Looks like he’s in a really good place,” Boone said.
Stanton played left field for the third time and ran in toward the infield to catch Mitch Walding’s soft fly in the fifth. Stanton lost two balls in the sun that both dropped for hits Sunday and didn’t have a fly ball hit toward him Tuesday.
“Yeah, I made it,” a smiling Stanton said. “I finally did it.”
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) could start baseball activities next week. … Estrada, shot in the right thigh area during a robbery attempt in January, is playing catch and starting to run.
Left-hander Justus Sheffield was among six players reassigned to the minor league camp along with RHPs Dillon Tate, Cale Coshow, RHP Raynel Espinal, LHP Trevor Lane and C Chace Numata.
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