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Yanks crew ready for 2017 All-Star Game

MLB.com @BryanHoch

MIAMI -- Aaron Judge's first All-Star experience finally presented a situation that disrupted his cool confidence on Monday, and those jangled nerves had nothing to do with his upcoming swings in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, which he won by defeating the Twins' Miguel Sano. A chance interaction with Buster Posey in a hallway of Marlins Park left the rookie slugger gushing.

"I've watched him for years," said Judge, who grew up as a Giants fan in Linden, Calif. "He was walking into the clubhouse. I had to stop him and say, 'Buster, I'm a huge fan.' I've had fun watching what he's doing, just the way he plays on the field, the way he acts off the field. He's the true definition of a professional."

MIAMI -- Aaron Judge's first All-Star experience finally presented a situation that disrupted his cool confidence on Monday, and those jangled nerves had nothing to do with his upcoming swings in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, which he won by defeating the Twins' Miguel Sano. A chance interaction with Buster Posey in a hallway of Marlins Park left the rookie slugger gushing.

"I've watched him for years," said Judge, who grew up as a Giants fan in Linden, Calif. "He was walking into the clubhouse. I had to stop him and say, 'Buster, I'm a huge fan.' I've had fun watching what he's doing, just the way he plays on the field, the way he acts off the field. He's the true definition of a professional."

Posey replied by saying that Judge's home run barrage has been fun to watch, urging him to keep it going. With Judge and Gary Sanchez both preparing to compete in the Derby, fellow Yankees All-Stars Dellin Betances, Starlin Castro and Luis Severino took turns counseling their teammates as the hours before showtime ticked down.

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"This is my fourth one," Betances said, "but I think this will be the best one, just because we have guys doing the Home Run Derby and there's five of us, a lot of young players. It just shows where the direction of the team is going."

The third Yankees rookie to start an All-Star Game (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX)., joining Joe DiMaggio (1936) and Hideki Matsui (2003), Judge will bat third on Tuesday because American League manager Brad Mills said that he wants to see the game's best story step to the plate in the first inning.

"He's must-watch TV," the Nationals' Bryce Harper said. "You turn on the TV and you see him play and you look at it and it's like, 'Man, he's going to hit a homer about nine miles right now,' and you want to see that as a baseball fan, as a player. He definitely is must-watch TV."

Betances joins DiMaggio as the second Yankee to be selected as an All-Star in each of his first four full Major League seasons, and he has been providing valuable advice as his teammates get acquainted with the experience.

"I tell them to have fun. That's the biggest thing," Betances said. "It's going to go by fast. You're not going to have much time to do anything. Just enjoy, enjoy the people you see around and get to compete with on a day-to-day basis and try to ask as many questions as you can so it can help you out in the future."

Sanchez is the first Yankees catcher to make the All-Star team since Russell Martin in 2011, and the third to make one at age 24 or younger, joining Thurman Munson (24 in 1971) and Yogi Berra (23-24 in 1948-49).

"When I step out on the field, I'm excited to compete against whoever I'm competing against," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "I'm just going to have a good time, enjoy the experience and soak it all in."

At 23, Severino is the youngest Yankees pitcher to make an All-Star team since Mel Stottlemyre (23) in 1965. One year ago, Severino, Judge and Sanchez were members of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster; now they are AL All-Stars.

"I feel proud of myself and Judge and Gary," Severino said. "They're doing a great job. At this time last year, I was in Triple-A. I took that as a way to work hard during the offseason and ... now I'm going to the All-Star Game."

Now a four-time All-Star, Castro was replaced on the roster by Robinson Cano of the Mariners because of a strained right hamstring, but he expects to be in the Yankees' lineup on Friday in Boston.

"I feel happy to be here," Castro said. "I feel a little bad that I'm not going to play, but I'm going to enjoy it no matter what. I feel good to play after this."

At 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

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