TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton homered off the scoreboard in left-center and hit three opposite-field homers to right. Aaron Judge drove a pitch over the left-field walkway and also went deep to right.
The New York Yankees’ first full-squad batting practice of spring training drew about 2,000 fans Monday. The two sluggers took 30 swings each, and fans reacted whenever the ball was lifted into the air.
“The moment we touched the dirt, they’re buzzing and ready for us to get into the cage and hit,” Stanton said afterward, wearing a sleeveless shirt. “That was really cool. Nothing like that (I had) experienced in spring.”
Brooks Cook and his son Brody from New Port Richey positioned themselves in left field, about 375 feet from the plate.
“We might be too close,” Brooks Cook said.
Brooks Cook noted there were more than Yankees’ fans in attendance.
“I have a friend who’s a die-hard Red Sox who’s coming to see them hit,” Brooks Cook said. “A Red Sox fan.”
Judge set a big league rookie record with an American League-leading 52 homers last year. Stanton led the majors with 59 and was acquired in the offseason from Derek Jeter’s payroll-paring Miami Marlins.
“That’s my usual approach in BP,” Stanton said. “I usually just hit it to right field to make sure I get back spin, stay inside the ball and see how I feel. Let it go when I need to and get ready for the game.”
“I know they’re here for the entertainment but we’ve got to get our work in, too,” Stanton added. “The main entertainment, this six weeks is set up for the 162-plus (games) entertainment.”
Stanton said he is bouncing ideas off Judge.
“I’m new, I’m the deer in headlights here,” Stanton said. “I’m asking him questions, getting to know how things work here, taking in all the information I can get.”
Judge took batting practice on a field for the first time since surgery Nov. 20 left shoulder surgery.
“It was good to finally get out there and get some BP in,” Judge said. “It’s full-go. Nothing is holding me back.”
His admiration for Stanton is clear.
“You can hear it. It comes off his bat different,” Judge said.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone admitted that he got caught up in the moment.
“It was exciting,” Boone said. “A little bit of a rush.”
Gary Sanchez has been in the background despite hitting 33 homers last season. The catcher hit in the group with Stanton and Judge, and sent three balls over the fence.
“Gary rakes, that’s what I think,” Boone said. “He’s special. I can’t wait to see what he does this year.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is looking to add to his World Series ring collection.
“The need-another-ring is the goal,” Cashman said. “I need another ring. I’ve got rings, but there’s other guys in there that don’t have rings. Some have rings somewhere else. I think having a ring with an N-Y on it means more than any of the other ones out there in my opinion. So, ultimately and collectively we’re going to try to find a way to get that done.”
“I’m not going to say World Series or bust,” Cashman added. “I’ve got too much respect for all of the teams and the players that we have to go up against.”
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