Judge calls emotional players-only meeting

July 2nd, 2021

NEW YORK -- The Yankees held a players-only meeting earlier this week, which managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner revealed during a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday.

said on Friday that he was responsible for calling that meeting, which the slugger described as having "a lot of emotion."

"There were some things on my mind, some things I've been seeing over the course of the year," Judge said before Friday's game against the Mets. "Usually around the All-Star break is a time where you have a meeting and you address things going in the second half. I felt there were some things that couldn't wait until the All-Star break to get brought up."

The meeting took place before Tuesday's 11-5 victory over the Angels, in which the Yankees set a new season-high for runs scored. Judge said that it was an opportunity for the players "to be honest with each other," opening the floor to speak what was on their minds.

Judge said that he would keep any further details of the meeting private, but added, "Sure enough, we go out there and score a lot of runs, having better at-bats and overall better quality of games. I think it's going to help us in the long run."

Added reliever Darren O'Day: "I think it's a sign of a team that cares. It's easy for us to just kind of go through the day and not really make a big deal out of it. Everybody comes here to New York to win. It was a great time to meet. It was very productive."

The Bombers suffered a devastating loss the next night, knocking out Shohei Ohtani before enduring two rain delays and seeing the Angels score seven runs in the ninth inning of an 11-8 loss.

Judge did not play in that game, with manager Aaron Boone having said that Judge "really needed" a day off. Judge played in 75 of the Yankees' first 80 games and said that there are no physical issues that would preclude him from appearing in the All-Star Game.

"I think everyone's dealing with something," Judge said. "It's just about making sure I take the right steps to do what I need to do on the field. If I've got to take a day here or there to make sure I don't miss a week or two weeks, I think that's a smart course of action."

Dream realized
Tim Locastro said it was his childhood fantasy to enter the Yankees' clubhouse and find a locker with his pinstripes hanging in it, which is exactly what the outfielder experienced after taking a red-eye flight that landed on Friday morning.

Locastro was acquired from the D-backs on Thursday in exchange for Minor League right-hander Keegan Curtis. Locastro, who turns 29 later this month, was born in Syracuse, N.Y., and attended Ithaca College in upstate New York.

"It's something I literally dreamed about as a kid, and it finally became reality," Locastro said. "I can't wait to get started with this team. As a fan growing up, the standard was to win, and that's still the standard. I want to help this team win."

A right-handed-hitting speedster, Locastro has compiled a career .234/.339/.324 slash line with the Dodgers (2017-18) and D-backs ('19-21). Boone said that he envisions using Locastro in a platoon with Brett Gardner in center field, starting Locastro against left-handed starters.

"We love his speed and athleticism, and his ability to really defend in the outfield," Boone said.

Locastro said that before Friday his most memorable Yankee Stadium experience came in Game 3 of the 2012 American League Division Series against the Orioles. Locastro and his friends drove from college and bought tickets down the third-base line. Raul Ibanez cracked a pinch-hit, game-tying homer in the ninth, then a game-winning homer in the 12th.

"That was probably the coolest, most memorable experience," Locastro said. "We were going nuts."

He said it
"This is New York City. This is the greatest place to play baseball. It's a big deal to me and I would imagine it is to a lot of people as well." -- Boone, on the Subway Series

This date in Yankees history
July 2, 1941: Joe DiMaggio hit a two-run homer off Dick Newsome of the Red Sox, extending his hitting streak to 45 games and surpassing a single-season Major League record held by Wee Willie Keeler, established in 1897.