Aaron Judge accepts Ohtani’s push to challenge his home-run crown

Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani

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ANAHEIM, Calif.– The way Shohei Ohtani’s 2023 season goes on, he has emerged as a threat to Aaron Judge’s AL home-run record. However, the Yankees slugger has welcomed reports about the two-way star could potentially surpass him this year. Aaron Judge feels that any challenge to his record will motivate him to achieve greater home-run heights.

Aaron Judge said on Wednesday before the Yankees’ 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels that records are meant to be broken. He added that it would be exciting for the game if Shohei Ohtani went out there and got 63-plus home runs and they would see what happens. However, he expressed his readiness to go past the new record.

“I’ve still got quite a few years left in this game,” Aaron Judge said. “If he breaks it, that’ll give me another opportunity to go out there and try to do something special.”

Shohei Ohtani couldn’t add another home run on Wednesday, so he still has an MLB-best 35 homers in 94 games. At his current pace, he is on track to hit 60 home runs. Last year, Aaron Judge hit 62 home runs, one more than Roger Maris did in 1961.

In June, Shohei Ohtani broke an Angels record by hitting 15 home runs, and he continued his impressive performance by hitting three more home runs in the first five games after the All-Star break. According to Judge, the biggest challenge for Ohtani is more about the mental aspect than the physical one.

Aaron Judge appreciates Shohei Ohtani’s form

According to the Yankees captain, Shohei Ohtani has the talent to hit 100 home runs, even 80 home runs, just like many other players in the league. However, Aaron Judge emphasized that in crucial moments, it’s essential to be mentally strong and block out distractions or a lack of distractions. He acknowledges that Ohtani has the capacity to break his record.

“Records are meant to be broken,” Aaron Judge told. “It’s just a record. It’ll be exciting for the game if he went out there and got 63-plus. We’ll see what happens.”

According to him, the most significant difference in comparing swings is that he incorporates a leg lift in his batting technique. Aaron Judge explained that when he does his leg lift, both of their feet are touching the ground, whereas Shohei Ohtani uses a toe tap. Despite the differences in their approaches, they end up in similar positions, with Ohtani coiling around his back hip and getting into a strong hitting position, similar to how Judge does it. He believes that among all the good hitters in the league, some use a toe tap, some do leg lifts, and some don’t stride at all, but at a specific moment in their swings, they all get into the same position. That’s why he enjoys watching Ohtani’s hitting technique.

“It’s incredible. It’s fun to watch,” Aaron Judge said about Shohei Ohtani. “I’m excited what he’s done so far and looking forward to what else he does when we get out of town here.”

Judge has the power to hit a record

Aaron Judge is hitting a home run in Orioles Park at Camden Yards in a Yankees vs. Orioles game.

Last year, during a three-game series in Anaheim, both Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani displayed their power by hitting two home runs each. Unfortunately, the Yankees slugger has been out of action since June 3 due to a torn ligament in his right big toe while the Angels’ star is on a roll against the Yankees, who are reportedly after the Japanese star to land him in the Bronx.

So far this season, Aaron Judge has played 49 games and holds a batting average of .291 with 19 home runs and 40 runs batted in (RBI). Nonetheless, he envisions another attempt at surpassing the milestone of 62 home runs and beyond in the forthcoming seasons.

On Wednesday, the Yankees star ran the bases and later spoke to reporters from Japan and Los Angeles. According to Manager Aaron Boone, Aaron Judge is making steady progress, but there is still no set date for his return to the lineup.

Boone mentioned that it is significant that Aaron Judge can run the bases and perform various activities. He emphasized that Judge’s progress and ability to manage any discomfort are crucial factors. If Aaron Judge continues to advance with low pain sensitivity, he is expected to be in a favorable position, according to Boone.

However, for now, Aaron Judge is focused on his recovery and is not perturbed about Shohei Ohtani chasing his record.

“I’m here to play a baseball game, and I’m not worried about a record. I want to go out there and help my team win.”

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