TAMPA, Fla. -- The greatest show on dirt could enjoy its opening act today, when Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are expected to hit in the same batting practice group during the Yankees' first full-squad workout of the spring."That's the plan," Judge said. "We'll see once we get in if
TAMPA, Fla. -- The greatest show on dirt could enjoy its opening act today, when Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are expected to hit in the same batting practice group during the Yankees' first full-squad workout of the spring.
"That's the plan," Judge said. "We'll see once we get in if that's still the plan, but I'm supposed to be full-go on the field with all of the guys. I'm looking forward to that."
• Check out first images of Stanton in pinstripes
Manager Aaron Boone said that while Judge has been cleared to participate in on-field hitting drills, he will be held out of the Yankees' earliest Grapefruit League games as a precaution. Judge had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in November.
• Yankees Spring Training information
Judge has been working out in the batting cages and in the weight room, having recently been cleared to resume shoulder presses and overhead movements. He has also taken fly balls with outfield coach Reggie Willits, and said that he does not have an issue with the slower pace of his spring.
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"I understand it. It's all part of it," Judge said. "This process right here doesn't matter. What's important is being ready for Opening Day, so if I take a couple days here slow and miss a couple games or miss some activities, I don't mind that. I'd rather not miss any games when it starts to count."
Judge's batting practice sessions became must-see events last season, beginning in Spring Training, when he dented the left-field scoreboard numerous times and cleared it at least once. Judge said that he, Stanton and Gary Sanchez will probably have some enjoyable competitions.
"There's always some of that, even with the groups that we had before," Judge said. "Gary and I would get into it a little bit. We're just having some fun. We'll usually have about one round where we'll all kind of see how far we can hit it. There will be a little back and forth."
Spring in his step
Sanchez spent part of his winter focusing on improving his flexibility, which he hopes will help him be a more complete contributor. Boone said that while he believes Sanchez's defensive issues have been overstated at times, the manager has been excited by the early form that Sanchez has shown in drills with coaches Josh Bard and Jason Brown.
• Sanchez is already tearing the cover off the ball
"I know we talk about the offense and all the things in the past, but I think he's going to turn into a great all-around player and one of the leaders on our team right away," Boone said. "The work he's doing right now with Brownie, with Bard, each and every day, I think is preparing him to be an impact on both sides of the ball. That's our expectation. He's going to impact the game in a positive way on both sides of the ball."
Boone said that critics may be overlooking a "remarkable" start to the 25-year-old Sanchez's career. In 177 games, Sanchez has hit .283/.353/.567 with 53 home runs and 132 RBIs, including a 33-homer campaign in 2017 that shattered a record for Yankees catchers shared by Yogi Berra and Jorge Posada (30).
"When you're a young catcher trying to lead a playoff-caliber club, there's a lot that goes into that," Boone said. "There's a lot to that position, not just the physical part of catching and throwing and hitting, but also developing and learning to call a game and developing relationships with pitchers. It's a lot. Being a Major League catcher is a lot. I look at it more as a positive start to things for him and I think there's a lot more in there."
They said it
"It's good for the fans. They want to see their home team hit some batting practice at their home field. That'll be good for the kids, too. I know a lot of kids like to come out and watch some guys hit some home runs. It'll be a good opportunity for everybody." -- Judge, on the Yankees opening gates three hours early for spring home games
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.