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What's next for Yankees Aaron Judge?

New year, new goals for Yankees slugger Aaron Judge.

Judge opened spring training with his New York teammates as captain for the first time on the heels of a monumental year. He set the American League home run record with 62, was named AL MVP and, after flirting with a return to his West Coast roots in free agency, came back to the Yankees on a record nine-year, $360 million contract.

Judge was pressed about whether he could hit 62 home runs again this season.

“We’ll see, we’ll see,” he said Tuesday. “I don’t really like putting a number on it. I just kind of like going out there and trying to control what I can control, but you never know what could happen. So, we’ll see about 62.”

When he reported to the team to begin workouts, Judge opened some eyes by fielding ground balls at first base. He said he’s open to any position but returned to his customary spot in right field and took a few fly balls in left field. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Anthony Rizzo need not look over his shoulder this year, and perhaps for another five years.

“I don’t expect to see (Judge) there this year,” Boone said of the possible first base experiment. “Maybe five years from now it’s something that we’re talking about.”

Boone said there’s no reason to expect a “hangover” following Judge’s MVP season.

“Whether or not it’s 60 homers or 62 homers again or whatever it is, if he’s healthy, he’s gonna go out there and have an MVP-caliber season, there’s no doubt in my mind of that,” Boone said. “In that regard, I don’t worry about a hangover at all.” Judge said he’s written down several goals for 2023, including getting the Yankees a World Series title for the first time since 2009.

As captain, Judge said he’s going about his business as usual and not changing his approach to the game. “I’ll be doing what I’ve been doing the past six or seven years, try and lead by example,” Judge said. “Be a voice for this team on and off the field. Keep pushing this team to the ultimate goal of bringing a championship back to New York. That’s why I’m here. It’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to come back and wear pinstripes. Have a lot of unfinished business here. I’m looking forward to the new role, but stuff doesn’t change for me.” –Field Level Media


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