BOSTON -- Aaron Judge will celebrate his 25th birthday by taking aim at the Green Monster for the first time in a Major League game, and it was between Fenway Park's white lines that the hulking rookie might have cemented his future in a Yankees uniform.Judge impressed scouts with an
BOSTON -- Aaron Judge will celebrate his 25th birthday by taking aim at the Green Monster for the first time in a Major League game, and it was between Fenway Park's white lines that the hulking rookie might have cemented his future in a Yankees uniform.
Judge impressed scouts with an explosive performance in a Cape Cod League showcase in 2012, helping convince the Yankees to use the 32nd overall pick in the 2013 Draft on the Fresno State outfielder.
"We had a little workout; threw to bases, hit BP," Judge recalled after Tuesday's game was rained out. "It was pretty cool. In college, getting a chance to be on Fenway's field. I'm just looking forward to being out there and seeing the Red Sox atmosphere."
Judge is batting .326 (15-for-46) with six homers, 12 RBIs, and 13 runs scored in his past 12 games, and he said that standing at home plate with the left-field wall so close makes for an inviting target.
"It's fun. I try not to worry about that," Judge said. "A lot of guys get focused on that and try to keep hitting it over. I'm just trying to keep my same approach and good things will happen."
Judge missed out on the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry last September due to a strained oblique, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he believes Judge will respond well to the packed house.
"He's handled everything that's been put in front of him," Girardi said. "I'm sure it'll be enjoyable his first time. He'll think back on it and say, 'Wow, that was pretty neat.' I think he'll handle it fine. He's pretty even-keeled."
The makings of Judge's raw power -- which produced a 457-foot moonshot on Saturday against the Pirates, the sixth-longest hit in the Majors this season -- were on display that afternoon at Fenway, when Judge slugged at the plate and took balls in center field.
"I felt like I hit good," Judge said. "We were in such a rush because we were in such a time constraint. You couldn't take a pitch in BP or swing at everything. It was kind of a rush, but I enjoyed every minute of it."
Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees' vice president of domestic amateur scouting, told the New York Post that "all the position players hit and Aaron was putting on a show that was a lot different than everybody else, where the ball was landing for him. We said, 'Holy smokes, he's really developing.'"
Judge said that he does remember clearing the Monster a couple of times in that showcase, but there was little time to enjoy the accomplishment then. He's hoping to celebrate more this week.
"Just the history; the guys that came before us and played on these fields. Now I'm getting a chance to step out there and do the same thing," Judge said. "It's an honor. Not too many people get to do that."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.