Judge strongly leading toward skipping Home Run Derby

  • FILE - In this July 10, 2017, file photo, New York Yankees' Aaron Judge smiles as he competes during the MLB baseball All-Star Home Run Derby, in Miami. Judge is strongly leaning toward not taking part in Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year after hitting 52 homers and driving in 114 runs won the derby last season. "A cool experience," Judge said Thursday, March 8, 2018. "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."(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) Lynne Sladky

Associated Press
Thursday, March 08, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. – 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 RBI 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 RBI at the All-Star break, then batted .179 with seven homers and 16 RBI 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.”