Following an American Rookie of the Year campaign in 2017, Aaron Judge took to the podium at Geroge M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday afternoon. After watching the full press conference, here is a summary in the shape of the top five major takeaways:
Right on schedule
Judge opened the presser by saying, “The shoulder feels good.” He followed that by saying that “I feel like we’re right on schedule” and progressing with the rehab schedule that was laid out for Judge after the surgery.
With that, he added that he’s “just starting bp right now…I’ve been doing a lot of cage work, tee, and toss”. He did announce that today was his first-day taking batting practice.
Fans who plan to attend early spring training games, it is highly probable that Aaron will take batting practice outside so you should have the chance to see him. Earlier this week the Yankees announced that gates would open three hours before each spring home game so you can see your Bombers take batting practice up close and personal.
Judge will miss some action this spring
“The games that matter are in April, so if I miss a couple of games early on which I probably will in the spring, I’d rather miss those games then miss games starting at the end of March into early April.” The goal was stated, to be ready for Toronto on opening day.
Cashman called Aaron to approve the Stanton trade
“When Cash called me, I was kinda like yes get him. Cause’ he kinda asked we have Stanton on the table what do you think about that? I said to get an MVP caliber player on our team, let’s do it”.
Less time in right field
In the phone call this offseason to Judge from Cashman, it was stated and acknowledged by both parties that if the deal went through, the Fresno State alum would see action in left field and more time as designated hitter. He said he gave the Yankees general manager the noble response of “Whatever the team needs me to do. That’s what I’m here for. We’re in here to win it”.
Judge played hurt last year, but no excuses
This part of the press conference was the only time Judge looked and felt uncomfortable answering a question. When asked about when he initially felt the injury he responded, “I felt it midway through the last year, but it came down to can you play? I could play, you know in July and August everyone’s going through something, no one’s 100%. At times he paused, awkwardly laughed, and looked visibly uncomfortable knowing he didn’t want to make any major headlines by acknowledging how bad he was injured. He added “I wanted to be out there for the team” so the California native decided to help his club out in the chase for first place and a championship. When asked about his second-half struggles, Judge quickly responded “I don’t like making excuses. I never want to blame a shoulder, a knee, or any injury. I don’t like making excuses…like I said I could go out there and play, it’s all on me”.