Aaron Judge of the Yankees talks with home plat umpire Larry...

Aaron Judge of the Yankees talks with home plat umpire Larry Vanover during the fifth inning against the Guardians at Progressive Field on April 10 in Cleveland. Credit: Getty Images/Ron Schwane

Aaron Judge had to be lying.

That was the grandest conclusion drawn, certainly by some in the Blue Jays’ dugout and by plenty of media members who weighed in from afar.

Judge’s eighth-inning at-bat in the Yankees’ 7-4 victory in Toronto last Monday night — an at-bat in which Aaron Boone got ejected after Judge took a called strike on what appeared to be a low pitch, an at-bat in which the captain was seen glancing toward his right, also holding up his hand to his dugout as his manager and teammates chirped — received Zapruder film-like examination.

Just where were his eyes darting? And, c’mon, there was no chance he was telling his dugout to quiet down instead of continuing to wear out plate umpire Clint Vondrak, as Judge contended postgame.

No player does that.

“It’s kind of odd that a hitter would be looking in that direction,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after the game. “He’s obviously looking in that direction for a reason.”

There was.

By that point of the game, Judge and his teammates may well have decoded pitch location. Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk is not known by scouts as being particularly adept at hiding those kinds of things.

However, one veteran umpire who was not involved in the Toronto series told Newsday late last week that he believes Judge was being truthful about the reason he looked at the dugout and gestured with his hand.

“Absolutely,” the umpire said. “He’s done stuff like that before. Like [he’s saying], ‘This is not your at-bat, it’s my at-bat. Leave him [the umpire] alone. I’m at the plate, I’m man enough to handle my own business.’ ”

Indeed, despite receiving more strike calls on low pitches than any other player dating to his AL Rookie of the Year season in 2017, the reigning AL MVP has that kind of respectful relationship with umpires. And he’s had that throughout his big-league career, according to conversations Newsday has had with multiple umpires throughout Judge’s career.

“He always treats us with respect,” another umpire said.

That doesn’t mean Judge never says a word. But, much like a player he’s often compared to, Derek Jeter, it’s done in an understated way.

A downward glance and a few words spoken from the side of his mouth as he taps at the dirt in the box with his bat. Perhaps a firm word or two, but always polite.

“He lets us know if he thinks we kick one,” the first umpire said. “But in a genuine way. Very similar to Jeter. Never shows us up.”

Jeter was never ejected in his 20 seasons in the majors. Judge, in seven-plus seasons, has never been ejected. And it’s hard to envision it happening.

In more than a few discussions with Newsday about the topic since his rookie season, Judge has never wavered in his stance on umpires.

“I don’t want to show them up,” he said in 2018. “They have a job to do and I’ve got a job to do. It’s something my college coach [Mike Batesole at Fresno State] told me: ‘You’re not here to umpire, you’re not an umpire, so don’t sit here and try to call balls and strikes in your head. You’re up there to hit. You’ve got one job to do: Hit. So do that.’ That’s always been my philosophy.”

Aaron Boone, ejected five times during his 12-year big-league career and 29 times in his five-plus seasons as Yankees manager, told Newsday last weekend in Cincinnati that he has spoken to Judge about being a bit more outspoken with umpires, though not uncomfortably out of character.

“I talk to him about it sometimes,” Boone said. “And he’s getting better at picking his spots to where he’ll say something or even show his displeasure through some subtle body language. But I think then he knows to give it to me. I’m going to fight for that, and he knows that. He knows how to pick his spots, where he’ll say his piece on something. It’s meaningful when he does, because it is few and far between. And he is respectful when he voices it. I think they respect that.”

The umpires seem to agree.

“He shows his frustration when he thinks we miss a pitch,” a third umpire said. “But it’s still respectful. And when he does say something, there can be [the thought], ‘Yeah, maybe I missed that one.’ [Because] he really doesn’t say much.”

Various teammates for years have jokingly — though with a tinge of truth behind it — told the imposing 6-7, 282-pound Judge that the sight of him losing it just once on an umpire might actually make some kind of an impact on the low-strike issue.

But that kind of Judge tirade isn’t likely.

It’s a point he restated after a game last July 16 against the Red Sox when he took a particularly low called strike (Boone was ejected later in the same game arguing balls and strikes).

“I don’t know,” Judge said with a smile but quite seriously, “if I’ll be getting tossed anytime soon.”

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