NEW YORK -- When Aaron Judge trotted around the practice fields this spring, unable to swing the bat without discomfort, the Yankees slugger promised that he would be ready for Opening Day. That stance didn't change even as spring leaked into summer, his duties still limited to picking up stray
NEW YORK -- When Aaron Judge trotted around the practice fields this spring, unable to swing the bat without discomfort, the Yankees slugger promised that he would be ready for Opening Day. That stance didn't change even as spring leaked into summer, his duties still limited to picking up stray balls in the cage.
As Judge recently quipped, he hasn't lied yet. Judge looked ready for the season to begin with two homers on Sunday evening, joined in an impressive power display by Gary Sánchez, Luke Voit and Giancarlo Stanton as the Yankees defeated the Mets, 6-0, in their penultimate exhibition of Summer Camp at Yankee Stadium.
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“He's really been able to get a lot of work in behind the scenes,” manager Aaron Boone said of Judge. “He's worked hard to put himself in a good spot. I think he knows himself really well. He knows how to get ready. I do feel he's ready and he's on a mission to go out and dominate.”
Having missed all of Spring Training due to a fractured right rib and a punctured lung, Judge cleared the fences in his first at-bat of the exhibition slate, mashing a drive to the left-field seats off Mets starter Corey Oswalt.
Sánchez followed with a fourth-inning blast to the second deck in left field, clocked off his bat at 110.2 mph by Statcast. The drives supported left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who spun five brilliant innings of scoreless, two-hit ball in his final tune-up before the games count for real.
“I really was trying to pound the zone and change speeds,” said Montgomery, who walked one and struck out six. “I found my timing and my rhythm, and was just trying to execute as many pitches as I could.”
Voit extended the lead in the sixth by sending a Drew Smith offering onto the netting covering Monument Park, and Judge followed later that inning with his second round-tripper of the evening, a shot to left field off Smith.
“I think once he got to start swinging the bat and got confirmation that it felt all right, the ramp-up has gone really well for him,” Boone said of Judge. “We're seeing it obviously in the results, in the typical really good Aaron Judge at-bats.”
As the Yankees whooped and clapped in their dugout, Stanton one-upped everyone in the seventh, launching a monstrous 448-foot blast to the left-field bleachers off former teammate Chasen Shreve that came off his bat at 112.5 mph.
“I think the majority of our guys are healthy and ready to go,” Brett Gardner said before the game. “We're definitely healthier and stronger now than we were in February or March. It's good to see some of these guys back on the field.”
In all, the Yanks connected for 2,119 feet of homers on Sunday, piling on after Clint Frazier hit a second-deck homer on Saturday at Citi Field. Over a 24-hour span that was separated by a 9.8-mile cruise over the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the Yanks outscored the Mets by a 15-3 margin.
“It's really good when they're seeing the ball like they are,” Montgomery said. “It gives you a lot of conviction to be able to pound the zone and just kind of be aggressive, knowing your guys are going to put up some runs for you.”
That could be a sign of things to come during the upcoming 60-game schedule, which will begin with the Yankees visiting the defending World Series champion Nationals on Thursday night in Washington.
Scoring certainly does not figure to be an issue for the Yankees, who paced the Majors with 943 runs last year while mashing 306 home runs, one season after the club established a Major League record with 267 homers.
“I think they've really taken these intrasquad games and all the live reps, they've treated them as very important things,” Boone said. “Then I think the first chance to play against other teams, we've seen a number of good at-bats from guys. It was good to see that again tonight.”
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.