New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is no stranger to making history.
He did it again on Saturday after making his first MLB appearance in center field.
Once Judge stepped on the field at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, the 6-foot-7 outfielder tied Walt Bond as the tallest center fielder in Major League Baseball history.
Yeah, you read the right. Our starting CF today is 6'7". pic.twitter.com/75V4se4xMr
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 31, 2018
Judge and Giancarlo Stanton shared the same outfield for the first time during the regular season. Judge played right field in New York’s first two games. Stanton was in right field after serving as designated hitter on Thursday and Friday.
In proved to be an uneventful days for both in the field and at the plate. They went a combined 1 for 7 as the Yankees fell to Toronto 7-2.
It was inevitable that Judge or Stanton would have to venture to a new position at some point this season. Manager Aaron Boone will want to use his DH spot to give other regulars a rest.
A rash of early season injuries may make it a more regular occurrence though early in the season. The Yankees two best center field options are on the disabled list with Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks now sidelined. Hicks suffered a strained right intercostal in Thursday’s opener. Brett Gardner started in center on Friday.
The Yankees also had Billy McKinney on the roster. He started in left field Saturday, but left the game after spraining the AC joint in his left shoulder in a collision with the outfield wall. He was replaced by Gardner.
Fortunately, center field is not new territory for Judge. He was drafted as a center fielder out of Fresno State University and insists that he’ll be comfortable there.
“It’ll be an easy adjustment,” Judge said after Friday’s Yankees’ 4-2 win. “There’s easier reads in center than in the corners. When you have big guys like [Giancarlo] Stanton hitting you top-spin liners, you know what they’re going to do in center field. There’s true reads. If they call me and send me to center, I’ll be ready to go.”
We’re guessing the Yankees concern isn’t as much about his ability as it is risking wearing him down. Boone suggested he’ll mix and match a bit with both Judge and Gardner for now.
One thing is for sure. The Yankees once overloaded outfield has quickly thinned out. As long as Judge, Stanton and Gardner are there though, they should be just fine.
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