The Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is leaning strongly toward not taking part in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game this year.
Judge won the derby last season in Miami, punctuating a successful year in which he hit 52 homers, had 114 R.B.I. and won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
“A cool experience,” Judge said on Thursday of last year’s derby. “I enjoyed it all, but I don’t think I really needed to go out there and do it again. I won it once. One and done is good for me.”
Judge didn’t completely rule out participating in the derby.
“It’s a long way away,” Judge said.
Judge, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder on Nov. 20, for loose-body removal and cartilage cleanup, said he was on schedule to be ready for opening day March 29 at Toronto.
“We’re right on track,” Judge said. “Shoulder has been feeling good. When I got first got down here, there was still a little soreness left in there, but this past week especially it’s pain-free.”
Judge didn’t link the derby with his second-half offensive struggle and physical issues. In a nearly two-month span, from the All-Star break through Sept. 2, Judge batted .176 with 70 strikeouts in 199 plate appearances.
“The derby wasn’t even that big of a toll, to be honest,” Judge said. “It’s just like taking B.P. It really wasn’t too taxing. I wasn’t trying to swing 110 percent, I was taking a normal 80-, 90-percent swing, trying to make contact.”
Giancarlo Stanton, Judge’s new teammate and a fellow participant in the 2017 Home Run Derby, is hitting .316 with no homers in 19 at-bats in preseason games. He will determine his derby status based on how he feels nearing the break.
“That’s just specifically my body,” Stanton said. “And that’s part of the point. If you don’t feel like you can get up there and have the right rest for the second half, then that does hurt the team.”
Judge, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder on November 20, for loose-body removal and cartilage cleanup, said he was on schedule to be ready for opening day March 29 at Toronto.
“It just depends on how the season’s going, how the body’s feeling, if I’m an All-Star and all that”, he said. He hit.185 and struck out in 41 of his 92 at-bats in August before righting himself to hit.311 with 15 home runs from September onward to finish the season with an American League-leading 52 home runs.
After telling ESPN two weeks ago that he didn’t think his shoulder would feel 100 percent until Opening Day, Judge told reporters Thursday that the shoulder is continuing to progress. Why does no one credit the Home Run Derby when something good happens?
“He’s a guy that he can play a lot of positions, but we know the situation we’re in and we know where Dustin is”, manager Alex Cora said Thursday. “When I got first got down here, there was still a little soreness left in there, but this past week especially it’s pain-free”. “I’m just trying to maintain that and keep that rolling into the season”.