Yankees’ Aaron Judge surprised by first career ejection: ‘I’ve said a lot worse’

Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium seemed normal enough. The Yankees were leading 5-3 in the seventh inning and were in the driver’s seat to take the series against the Tigers when their captain, Aaron Judge came up to the plate.

Already with two hits, including an RBI double, the former AL MVP took a called strike three on what seemed like a borderline pitch away. Judge didn’t agree with the call and started to chirp at home plate umpire Ryan Blakney while walking back to the dugout when the Yankees slugger was tossed.

“I didn’t think it was warranted,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game. “Let’s leave it at that.”

Judge’s teammate Anthony Rizzo, whose three-run shot was the difference in Saturday’s win, had a bit more to say on the situation to YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits on the field.

"He’s one of the nicest guys in the league. Everyone knows it, the respect he shows for everyone, the umpires,” Rizzo said. “Umpire being a little sensitive there. I'm sure he's gonna say he's right because they're always right, but Judgey is frustrated there, he’s competing…It’s Judgey’s first, thankfully it comes on a win and we’ll go and joke about it now.”

Saturday’s ejection was the first of Judge’s big league career. In fact, according to the Yankee captain, it’s his first ejection in his entire baseball career dating back to Little League. And that the ejection was surprising considering the game was still close late.

“I walked away saying my peace. I’ve said a lot worse,” Judge explained. “I try not to make a scene in situations like that. So, a little surprised walking away that that happened. I got a lot of respect for Ryan, their job’s tough… For that to happen that way, that’s what I’m most upset about. Especially in a close game.”

Judge said he didn’t realize he was tossed until the crowd reacted because he was walking to the dugout to “get the game moving along” but when he turned back to Blakney he felt he got his “money’s worth.”

“Apparently, Aaron did not agree with the pitch and said something that you shouldn't have said and he was ejected," crew chief Alan Porter said, via a pool reporter after the game. "We do what we can to keep guys in the game but said something he shouldn't have said."

Judge is the first Yankee captain to be ejected since Don Mattingly on May 13, 1994 (h/t YES Network’s Seth Rothman). Derek Jeter was never ejected in his MLB career.

As Rizzo said, the ejection didn’t affect the Yankees as they held on to win and seal a series victory. They’ll look to sweep Detroit against their tough ace Tarik Skubal on Sunday.