After a night to digest implications that he was cheating, Aaron Judge responded — and he is not pleased.
The New York slugger addressed the topic with reporters Tuesday, a day after Toronto Blue Jays broadcasters Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez insinuated that he received communications from the Yankees dugout while at the plate. They did so on the Sportsnet broadcast as Judge hit two home runs in a 7-4 Yankees win.
Here's what Judge had to say.
"I don't see why it's a story, to be honest," he said, per the New York Daily News. "If their broadcasters want to make a deal about it, they can say anything they want. I’m not happy about it, but people can say what they want. I’ve still got a game to play. I’ve got things to do.”
Judge then answered whether he thought the speculation was reckless.
"I've got some choice words about that," he continued.
He kept those choice words to himself.
Aaron Boone: 'Nothing ... was against the rules'
MLB, meanwhile, concluded that nothing from Monday's game indicated major rules violations, the New York Post's Greg Joyce reported. Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters that the team has been in touch with MLB about the subject and doesn't anticipate an investigation.
"Nothing that went on last night was against the rules,” Boone said.
Even if Judge's coaches or teammates were conveying information, that in itself is not a rules violation. It's up to players, managers and coaches to protect their information. If they're tipping pitches — via signals, catcher setup or otherwise — and the other team figures it out, that's on them.
Blue Jays broadcasters make implications
All this uproar stems from commentary during the eighth inning of Monday's game. As Judge faced Blue Jays reliever Jay Jackson, Shulman and Martinez took notice of Judge's shifting eyes and started to speculate. Cameras caught Judge repeatedly glancing toward the Yankees dugout just before pitches were thrown.
Aaron Judge hits a home run as the Blue Jays broadcasters wonder why he keeps glancing toward the dugout pic.twitter.com/ZrOY7grbYV
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) May 16, 2023
“All right, Buck, so you and I looked at each other right when we saw this three pitches ago,” play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman said.
“Watch what he’s looking at,” color analyst Buck Martinez replied.
"What is that?" Shulman replied. "Where's he looking? And he did it more than once."
Shulman then got to the heart of the implication that a coach or someone in the Yankees dugout was tipping him to incoming pitches.
“You don’t want to go throwing allegations around without knowing,” Shulman said as he threw an allegation around without knowing.
"I have had guys look back when I was catching, and you obviously could see it," Martinez responded. "He couldn't see the catcher with the way he was looking right there."
The conversation carried on as Judge hit his second home run of the night.
“He just did it again,” Shulman said just before Judge swung at Jackson's 3-2 slider. “And he pummeled him. He hit it a country mile for his second home run of the night.”
They continued to analyze Judge's glances while watching a replay of the home run.
“Once again, he’s looking at something, then the next move is that powerful swing," Martinez said. "And he blasts one to center field. I’ve not seen that before with him. I’ve not ever seen that."
Judge's postgame response
Judge briefly responded to the speculation postgame, when he appeared to learn about it for the first time from a reporter.
Aaron Judge says he was looking toward the Yankees dugout because he didn't like how much his teammates were chirping the umpire with a 6-0 lead
"I said a couple things to some guys in the dugout and especially after the game. Hopefully it won't happen again." pic.twitter.com/rMJ05Ilp0r
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) May 16, 2023
"There was kind of a lot of chirping from our dugout, which I really didn't like in our situation of a 6-0 game," Judge said. "... I said a couple things to some guys in the dugout and especially after the game. Hopefully it won't happen again."
Blue Jays manager John Schneider was suspicious and said the team would look into the issue so it's "not susceptible" to tipping information.
"It’s kind of odd that a hitter would be looking in that direction," Schneider said after the game. "He’s obviously looking in that direction for a reason."
He said Tuesday after reviewing video that "we can probably be a little tighter with some of our tendencies, locations with catchers, gloves — everything."
"We just want to make sure that every coach is where they should be on the field and I'm confident that they will be going forward."
Blue Jays manager John Schneider on the situation with Aaron Judge: pic.twitter.com/l3KFqz6VEQ
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) May 16, 2023
"In terms of the league, we just want to make sure every coach is where they should be on the field and confident that they will be moving forward."
Drama ensues Tuesday night
Tempers flared early in Tuesday's game, when Schneider yelled at Yankees third-base coach Luis Rojas for leaving the coaches box.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider was yelling at Yankees' third base coach Luis Rojas for leaving the coaches box. He also yelled "shut up fat boy" to someone on the Yankees side pic.twitter.com/MUUzhxzwND
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) May 16, 2023
Adding to the drama, Yankees pitcher Domingo German was ejected in the third inning after a foreign substance check.
Domingo German was just ejected following a foreign substance check.
It’s going DOWN in Toronto tonight. pic.twitter.com/svNi3dX0sM
— Foul Territory (@FoulTerritoryTV) May 17, 2023
There's plenty of early-season fuel between the AL East rivals in what promises to be one of baseball's most competitive divisions all year.