Aaron Boone on idea of Aaron Judge playing leftfield at Yankee Stadium: 'We'll see'
TAMPA, Fla. — Aaron Judge was primarily a centerfielder in college at Fresno State and, when called upon, has acquitted himself well at the position in his time as a Yankee.
That was especially the case last season when Judge, because of a variety of circumstances, was needed for 78 games in center, which, incidentally, remains his favorite position by far.
Might Judge, who has been a fixture in right since his Rookie of the Year season in 2017, see some time at a third outfield spot in 2023?
The Yankees aren’t ruling out Judge playing in left this season — at least for home games — as that would allow Giancarlo Stanton, who would like to play the field more regularly, to play the smaller patch in right at the Stadium. That would leave Harrison Bader, a tremendous defender, in center and Judge in left.
“I did mention to [Aaron Boone] if we need to get Big G in rightfield at Yankee Stadium, put me in left,” Judge said Tuesday. “I don’t mind it. I don’t mind switching around so we can have Bader, me and Big G out there. So we’ll get some reps in spring training and [get] comfortable out there.”
“I don’t think I’ve played leftfield since probably college,” he added. “So we’ll see how it goes.”
And it is here pauses are needed and deep breaths taken.
Boone sounded more non-committal to the idea, saying earlier in the day that while he’s “open” to it, he said multiple times, “We’ll see.”
“[It’s] something that I would say I’m at least considering and [is] on the table,” Boone said. “We’ll just kind of see how that goes and letting that play out, getting guys reps in different spots. No decision on that yet, but it’s something on my board.”
Asked if Judge would get time in left during the upcoming spring training exhibition season, Boone said: “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Stanton, who has had his share of injuries in recent seasons that has cost him opportunities in the field, has stated throughout his Yankees tenure, which started in 2018, a desire to be an all-around player as much as possible.
“I think I have more of a flow when I’m in the outfield,” said Stanton, who played 34 games in right in 2022 and four games in left. “Like I’ve said before, being an outfielder, you’re kind of more engaged in the game more [than] as DH. [At DH] you’re inside a lot of the time, staying warm, hitting [in the cage] and kind of watching the game from TV as opposed to being out there more engaged.”
The Yankees, who open the Grapefruit League season Saturday in Clearwater against the Phillies, have split-squad games Sunday — at Steinbrenner Field against the Braves and at Dunedin against the Blue Jays. Regulars don’t generally play in back-to-back games until later in the spring, meaning Judge is unlikely to play Saturday . . . Luis Severino is in line to be the first of those expected to be in the rotation to make a spring start. The righthander is slated to be on the mound Monday night against the Tigers at Steinbrenner Field.