As extension talk swirls, Judge keeps crushing

March 27th, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. -- As  waits for a contract extension offer and resists the urge to try out his best Jerry Maguire impression, the Yankees' slugger instead showed everyone some muscle on Sunday.

Judge slugged two impressive homers in the Yankees’ 7-4 Grapefruit League victory over the Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field, belting a third-inning solo shot over the batter’s eye in center field facing José Quintana, then launching an opposite-field two-run laser off JT Brubaker in the fifth.

“It looked like he just barely swung the bat, too,” said Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery. “That’s the scary thing. He flicked it and it went that far.”

Statcast measured the first homer at 111.7 mph; the second was scorched at 114.5 mph, carrying 382 feet into the right-field picnic area.

Judge’s second homer prompted Yankees manager Aaron Boone to nudge his bench coach, Luis Rojas, remarking: “That ball he hits out to right-center there, I’d be rounding first … hoping it gets into the gap.”

“It’s just different for him, man,” Boone said. “It’s good to see him have some good at-bats, especially the one over the batter’s eye. A really good day for him, especially the third game in a row for him. For a hitter of his stature, it’s not always about results, but as a hitter it’s always good to get them.”

Josh Donaldson, Kyle Higashioka and Marwin Gonzalez also homered in the contest for the Yanks.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that the team plans to present a contract extension offer to Judge and his representatives before Opening Day.

Boone said that he has been pleased by Judge’s ability to focus on his work between the lines, despite whatever uncertainty swirls about his contract situation.

“I know Aaron and I know what a competitor he is, the kind of teammate he is,” Boone said. “Whatever goes on there, he’ll deal with it, handle it and be the guy that we know.”