DUNEDIN, Fla. — Aaron Judge isn’t sweating it.
The 24-year-old is in the homestretch of his spring competition with Aaron Hicks for the starting job in rightfield and as of Wednesday a decision hasn’t been made.
Come Sunday when the Yankees open the season against the Rays, Judge could be anywhere from starting in Tropicana Field to beginning the year with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“I’m not getting paid to think about who’s getting the job,” Judge said. “I’m just trying to worry about what I can do on the field and the rest will take care of itself.”
His performance has ranged from solid to very good all spring. Judge’s two hits Wednesday gave him a .345/.406/.569 slash line compared to Hicks’.264/.361/.528. Judge possesses the superior power, Hicks is the better defender.
“They’ve both played very well,” Joe Girardi said.
It is old news that there is far from unanimous thinking in the organization regarding where to start Judge, who has shown improved plate discipline. Some feel he could still use every day at-bats in the minors to smooth out some rough edges; others would like to see him in rightfield in the big leagues, period.
Hicks has a place on the 25-man roster regardless, it’s just a matter of where most of his time is spent. Girardi said the club could get creative with a “rotation” system in the outfield, which would include giving Hicks time in left, center and right.
“When you look at Aaron Judge, you don’t want him to sit,” Girardi said. “If we don’t think there’s enough at-bats for him, that would be the thing that would keep him off the team. But I’m not saying there’s not enough at-bats. There’s a lot of ideas people have about it.”
Wade sent out
The Yankees optioned utility man Tyler Wade to minor league camp.
There was some thought Wade, 22, who’s been worked out at six total positions — three in the outfield and everywhere but first in the infield — might make the roster after Didi Gregorius’ shoulder injury.
But the Yankees instead appear likely to go with Pete Kozma, who has played 275 big-league games, 206 of them at shortstop. “He’s played a very good big league shortstop,” Girardi said, noting Kozma’s ability to play third and second, as well.
Rob Refsnyder remains in camp, though his difficulties with the glove make him an unlikely option.