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Judge making case for return to All-Star Game

MLB.com @BryanHoch

If you attended the All-Star Game festivities in Miami last July, you might recall a stirring tribute to the Latin members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Nelson Cruz taking a mid-game picture with home-plate umpire Joe West and Robinson Cano hitting a game-winning homer for the American League in the 10th inning.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

View Full Game Coverage

If you attended the All-Star Game festivities in Miami last July, you might recall a stirring tribute to the Latin members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Nelson Cruz taking a mid-game picture with home-plate umpire Joe West and Robinson Cano hitting a game-winning homer for the American League in the 10th inning.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

View Full Game Coverage

What you absolutely remember is Aaron Judge's performance in the Home Run Derby, which electrified the crowd at Marlins Park and established the Yankees slugger's place as one of the most popular faces of the game. What can Judge do for an encore this summer?

Judge led the AL with 4,488,702 votes in 2017, becoming the first Yankee to lead the AL fan vote since Derek Jeter in '09, and he was the leading vote-getter in all of baseball via the player ballot. Judge claimed the Derby trophy, slugging 47 homers in 76 swings to topple Justin Bour, Cody Bellinger and Miguel Sano. Four of Judge's homers traveled more than 500 feet.

"I was just stepping out, looking at guys, having fun, smiling and just trying to enjoy it all," Judge said. "Win or lose, you're just trying to go out there and have fun."

Though Judge has said that he does not intend to defend his Derby title, he seems to be in good shape to make a return trip to the All-Star festivities. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year Award winner has proved that his magnificent 2017 campaign was no fluke, having helped to anchor a Yankees lineup that ranks among the cream of the crop in numerous offensive categories.

"[Judge has] been great," manager Aaron Boone said. "He really has been so consistent for us. I feel like the at-bat quality for him, all the things we talk about, grinding out at-bats -- he just makes it so hard on the pitcher. You can see the pitcher really have to work so hard, pitch carefully to him. He controls the strike zone with power. He's one of the best players in the league on a nightly basis for us."

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge