Aaron Judge skips WBC to focus on Yankees, doesn’t rule out 62 HRs in 2023

Aaron Judge is hitting during a training session at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, FL.

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Aaron Judge is the biggest star in the New York Yankees team. His responsibilities have multiplied after becoming their 16th captain and this has had an effect on his recent decisions. The captain is all out to give his team a championship that has been eluding so far and this kept him away from joining Team USA for World Baseball Classic.

On Monday, when asked why he wasn’t going to the WBC, Aaron Judge told Fox Sports:

“It would be an honor to represent my country and play in that. But my main goal is what I can do here in New York and what I can do to bring a championship back here. I think especially after signing a nine-year contract, for me, priorities are New York. Maybe four years down the road, hopefully, I can still make the team and get an opportunity to play. But right now for me, my focus is here.”

Aaron Judge spoke to the press at the New York Yankees’ spring training camp for the first time as the team’s captain. He acknowledged that his priorities changed after he was re-signed and named the team’s captain.

“When you play in New York, that’s the one and only goal, besides going out there to win your division and put yourself in a good spot for the postseason,” Aaron Judge said. “That’s what drives me, day in and day out. It drives me to come here early to camp, drives me in the little things we do that people don’t see, trying to give us that small, little extra edge to put us over the top.”

Last season, Aaron Judge broke Roger Maris‘ record of 61 home runs and was voted AL MVP. His record-setting season helped him get a $360 million, nine-year deal that will keep him in the Bronx through the 2031 season. Aaron Judge hit 62 home runs last season.

After a year in which Aaron Judge set the bar very high, it is impossible to predict beyond reasonable expectations what he can do again. The slugger re-signed with the Yankees in December for another nine years, but the team hasn’t put a limit on what he can do next.

Aaron Judge told reporters after the Yankees‘ first full-squad spring training practice on Monday that he wouldn’t rule out breaking the record for most home runs in a single season in the American League that he just set last year.

He said, “You never know.” “I really don’t like to put a number on it. I just like going out there and trying to control what I can, but you never know what could happen. So, let’s see what 62 is like.”

The slugger isn’t going into the next season happy with what he’s done so far because he wants to keep getting better. Aaron Judge is known for hitting the ball into the stands every chance he gets, but he also strikes out a lot. In fact, he struck out 175 times last season, which put him in seventh place in the Majors.

Aaron Judge also said that he wanted to win a Gold Glove award, which he couldn’t have last year. Judge was a finalist for the AL right field job last year after playing some time at center field.

“Somewhere in there is a Gold Glove,” he said. “I don’t know if it will happen this year or in a couple of years, but it will be worked out.”

Captain Aaron Judge has more responsibility

This season, Aaron Judge wants to increase the number of times he makes contact with the ball. He has talked to other big leaguers about two-strike approaches, such as combining the no-stride approach with others. As captain, he knows he has more responsibilities and needs to set a good example.

“I’ll do what I’ve been doing for the past six or seven years,” Aaron Judge said. “I’ll try to lead by example.” “Speak up for this team on the field and off. Help this team reach its ultimate goal, which is to bring a championship back to New York.

As a new season starts, Aaron Judge is still focused on improving as a player. He wants to work on his contact rate and how he handles his workload. Judge doesn’t think that being named captain will change much about how he prepares for each day. Most of his teammates already saw him as a leader, so the title was just a formality for them.

Said Aaron Judge: “Just being there for everybody is the most important thing, especially playing 162 games with the daily grind that we deal with. For me, it’s just about being an accountable teammate. I’m there for you on the good days and I’m there for you on the bad days. That’s really what I want to get remembered for.”

Manager Aaron Boone said that Aaron Judge has spent most of the last six weeks at the Yankees’ spring training facility in Tampa, helping younger players get in shape and giving them advice. As captain, Aaron Judge wants to keep trying to get to know the younger, more promising prospects better. If he had gone to the WBC, he would have had to put those things on hold.

“My focus is on New York and especially being named captain, I didn’t want to miss any time at spring training,” Judge said. “There’s so many young guys here that I’ve only seen on Twitter or the prospect reports. I want to get a chance to be around these young guys and get to know them and kind of show them what we do here.”

When Aaron Judge showed up to start working out with the team, he surprised everyone by fielding ground balls at first base. He said that he would play anywhere, but he went back to his usual spot in the right field and caught a few fly balls in the left field. Aaron Judge said he was planning to take things day by day in 2023, but he added that he “always wants to get better” each season. As captain, Judge said he will keep doing what he always does and not change how he plays the game.

Aaron Judge’s first day of spring training with his New York teammates as captain came after a big year. When asked about how fans and boos make him feel, the power hitter said:

“I feel like you’re chasing history every time we play in New York. In the Bronx, things are never easy, that’s for sure. You have to take on those difficulties.”

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