Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is getting ready to report to spring training next month. He thinks it’s actually going to begin as scheduled.
"I think it’s going to start on time," Judge said on Thursday. "I don’t see why not. I’m ready. We’re excited. We’ve been training since our last game in October to get ready for the season. I’m excited to see some familiar faces again in Tampa and go back to work on what we started."
Yankees pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Tampa on Feb. 15, with position players due six days later.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of plans, but no one in MLB is saying that spring training in Florida or Arizona will be pushed back.
On Jan. 11, commissioner Rob Manfred told clubs to prepare for a complete spring training and a 162-game regular season.
Judge, who spoke on Thursday as part of a webinar for his All Rise Foundation, said the challenges of the 60-game 2020 season taught him valuable lessons.
"The biggest thing for me was not taking anything for granted," he said. "Our game and the whole world got flipped upside down. There was no one there to experience it with us. I’m just not going to take anything for granted, those little opportunities. I think that’s going to help me later on in life, too. Just don’t take the little things for granted."
Yankees reliever Zack Britton, who also was on the webinar, said he can’t wait to get to Tampa.
"I’m just excited to get around my teammates," he said. "I hope we get some fans in the stands, too. At the end of the day, that’s what makes what we do so much fun, interacting with the fans and putting on a good show for them. Hopefully this year in general is just a lot better for everybody."
Manfred’s Jan. 11 memo to clubs left open the possibility that a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend spring training games. The Yankees are scheduled to play their first spring training game on Feb. 27, with the regular season slated to open April 1.