Beltrán clarifies Judge extension comments

Lefty Sears makes Opening Day roster; Castro joins relief crew

April 4th, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. -- Carlos Beltrán created a stir during his debut broadcast in the YES Network booth on Monday afternoon, when the former big league outfielder seemed to indicate that Aaron Judge was on the verge of reaching a contract extension with the Yankees.

“I'm just glad to see him being able to create this new contract with the New York Yankees and being able to extend his stay here in New York,” Beltrán said on the air during New York’s 5-2 Grapefruit League win over the Phillies. “He's an incredible guy. He's a leader in the clubhouse.

“He's a guy that plays the game hard and I bet the message has to be like, from Judge, the Yankees are willing to commit like that for so long. And at the same time, you know, they want to build around him. They understand he's a leader, so I'm glad to see Aaron Judge increasing his stay here with the New York Yankees.”

Beltrán later clarified that he intended to say that he hoped Judge and the Yankees would reach an agreement.

“Carlos is my man. I think he was just looking out, trying to have my back there,” Judge told reporters. “I heard a little bit of the last couple of innings, Carlos in the booth. I think he was a little nervous, but he’s going to fit right in. The caliber of player he was, the insight he’s going to bring to this booth and this game is going to be huge. I’m glad he was pulling for me a little bit.”

General manager Brian Cashman said that he did not hear Beltrán’s comments.

Judge has requested that all extension talks cease by Opening Day; Cashman declined to say if the Yankees have already made their proposal to Judge.

“We will have all business concluded [by Opening Day],” Cashman said. “It’s either going to be in an arbitration setting or it’s going to be a contract. So I have nothing further to add.”

The two sides were unable to agree on a 2022 contract, filing for an arbitration hearing that would take place during the regular season. Judge filed at $21 million, while the club countered at $17 million.

“After Opening Day, I’ve got a job to do,” Judge said. “I’ve got something to focus on. We’ll see them at the end of the year, if it comes to that point.”

North bound
JP Sears completed his spring with three sharp innings on Monday, then was told that he will be coming north with the club. The left-hander said that Yankees manager Aaron Boone approached him in the dugout, telling him to pack for the flight to New York.

“Boone told me right after I got done with the game,” Sears said. “I came into camp fully prepared to do my best to make the roster. That was my goal. I was preparing for that throughout the whole offseason and lockout. I just wanted to come in and show that I was ready to go, healthy and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.”

In 6 2/3 spring innings, Sears allowed six runs and 12 hits for an 8.10 ERA, walking one and striking out eight. Boone said that he had no decisions to announce, but that Sears is “likely on the roster,” lauding his fastball and strike-throwing ability.

Boone said that the club is leaning toward carrying 16 pitchers, noting that right-handers Ron Marinaccio and Clarke Schmidt “have an excellent shot” of making the club. Boone declined to say if infielder-outfielder Marwin Gonzalez would be on the roster.

“The next 24 hours have to unfold to see where we are before we’re truly finalized,” Boone said.

Crosstown traffic
Miguel Castro was working out on the field with his Mets teammates on Sunday when he was summoned to manager Buck Showalter’s office, soon to learn that he had been traded to the Yankees for left-hander Joely Rodríguez.

The right-hander said that he plans to change little, except the borough in which he plays home games.

“For me, the mentality is the same,” Castro said through an interpreter. “You want to do your job. It’s very important to do your job and help this team, help this organization.”

Castro, 27, is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he posted career bests in ERA (3.45), appearances (69), home runs per nine innings (0.9) and hits per nine innings (6.1). Owning a two-seamer, slider and changeup, Castro has been working on his control, having issued 43 walks against 77 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings last year.

“I’m being more patient with myself on the mound, having trust in the pitches that I have and executing those pitches,” Castro said. “I concentrate and execute one pitch at a time. I’m trying to keep things simple.”