TAMPA, Fla. -- Three years ago this March, Alex Rodriguez tossed his batting gloves into a corner locker at George M. Steinbrenner Field and raved about what he had seen that afternoon from Aaron Judge and Greg Bird, lauding them as "two of the finest young hitters I've seen in
TAMPA, Fla. -- Three years ago this March, Alex Rodriguez tossed his batting gloves into a corner locker at George M. Steinbrenner Field and raved about what he had seen that afternoon from Aaron Judge and Greg Bird, lauding them as "two of the finest young hitters I've seen in a long time."
"I mean, you don't see those type of young hitters come around very often," Rodriguez said then. "We're lucky to have two of them. I was impressed."
No doubt about it, A-Rod crushed that Judge scouting report out of the park. His prime clubhouse real estate has been handed down to the next generation of Yankees sluggers, as that locker now belongs to Judge. The unanimous American League Rookie of the Year Award winner last season, Judge is expected to meet the media on Wednesday.
Full transcript of Aaron Boone news conference
Judge hit .284/.422/.627 with 24 doubles, 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 155 games last season, finishing second in the AL MVP race to the Astros' Jose Altuve.
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Manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday that the outfielder is not expected to be slowed after arthroscopic surgery performed on his left shoulder in mid-November, which involved a loose-body removal and cartilage clean-up.
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"He's doing well," Boone said. "We talk about managing individuals and getting individuals ready. We'll certainly be as cautious as we need to be in the early days."
Boone is looking forward to the first batting-practice session during which Judge and Giancarlo Stanton -- the reigning National League MVP Award winner and new Yankee -- take aim at the outfield walls together. Stanton's locker, by the way, happens to be one previously used by Judge -- in Spring 2016, Carlos Beltran requested that Judge be placed next to him so he could tutor his heir apparent in right field.
"I think the one thing that is exciting about both of those guys is, obviously, we've got an MVP and a Rookie of the Year," Boone said. "Guys that are tremendous players. Both guys are really good defenders as well and both guys, you talk about quality individuals. You can tell that it's about winning for them. It's about trying to chase down that championship for them."
Bird and Judge were both in their first big league Spring Trainings in 2015, enjoying an accelerated rise toward New York. Bird reached the Majors that August, while Judge homered in his first big league at-bat on Aug. 13, 2016 -- one day after Rodriguez played his final game at Yankee Stadium.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.