October 6, 2022

Aaron Judge ‘equipped’ for pressures of Yankees’ wild season

Aaron Judge is on pace to shatter the American League home run record. (Noah K. Murray/AP)

Aaron Judge is focused on one thing and one thing only: winning. It would be understandable if the pressure from the Yankees’ profound second-half struggles or from his own chase to break the American League home run record began to wear on the star, but if anything, he appears to be picking up momentum.

The Yankees’ star went 2-3 with a double while blasting his 54th home run of the season in Monday’s win over the Minnesota Twins. He’s hit eight homers in his last 13 games, and is now eight homers shy of breaking Roger Maris’s AL record.

“I got nothing for you,” Judge said after being asked about breaking the record. “I’m trying to do what I can every single day. Show up prepared, ready to go, do whatever it takes to help our team get a win.”

Literally doing everything it takes to help the Yankees win has added to the list of remarkable accomplishments by Judge this season. The recent lack of contributions by anyone without the number 99 on the back of their jersey, the talk of a contract, and now the AL home run record, none of it appears to be too tall of a task for the 6 foot 7 outfielder.

“He’s just so equipped for it,” said Boone. “Going back to the start of the season. I was asked about the contract, how it’s going to be when more people show up. He’s equipped for all of that, I don’t think it matters. He is focused on winning and doing his job.”

The Bombers can only hope that Judge’s shoulders can continue to hold the weight of this season crumbling through their fingers.

STANTON SCARE

Giancarlo Stanton left Monday’s game after coming up awkwardly while swinging in the sixth inning. Stanton finished the at-bat but was later pinch-hit for in the bottom of the eighth.

“He fouled a couple of balls off of his foot,” said Boone. “X-rays were negative, so, we’ll just see what we got. But nothing to do with his other stuff [Achilles injury].”

Boone was unsure if Stanton will be in the lineup on Tuesday.

BENINTENDI TO UNDERGO SURGERY

Boone added that Andrew Benintendi will undergo surgery on his hook of the hamate injury on Tuesday. The Yankees’ outfielder said he went through a similar injury during his freshman year of college.

Neither the Yankees or Benintendi have declared him out for the season. There seems to be some optimism that the 28 year old will return at some point in 2022.

BADER TO THE RESCUE?

Remember when the Yanks traded Jordan Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals? Well, it may be time for the Bombers to show off their end of the bargain as Harrison Bader is ramping up, according to Boone.

“This will be an important week for him as he will do full pre-game work,” said Boone. “If all goes well there, we can start a rehab. We have him targeted for the [Sept.] 13th but we could even move that up.”

With Benintendi set for a lengthy absence, Bader becomes all that more important for the Yankees. The Gold Glove-winning center fielder can provide a much-needed spark for a laboring and banged-up club.