LAKELAND, Fla. — Aaron Judge made London one of his offseason trips, spending some time in the historic city before reporting for spring training.
Count him among those most enthusiastic about the Yankees likely playing a two-game series there in June 2019 against the Red Sox.
“I’m excited about it,” Judge said Tuesday morning. “Anytime you get to go to another part of the world and play your sport and have other fans kind of see you and have an appreciation for what you do . . . maybe we might get some more Yankees fans. It’s something I’m looking forward to and other guys are looking forward to.”
A source confirmed Monday night that Major League Baseball was closing in on an agreement on the games — stressing there were still details to be worked out — which would be the first MLB games ever contested in Europe.
With a bad weather forecast for Lakeland and the possibility of a delay or postponement — neither, remarkably, happened — the Yankees chose to have Sonny Gray not travel and instead pitch in a minor-league game in Tampa. One scout said Gray looked “really sharp,” an assessment pitching coach Larry Rothschild, not prone to hyperbole, agreed with.
“Larry had a little hop in his step [talking about] Gray,” manager Aaron Boone smiled.
Boone said Brett Gardner definitely would be his starter in leftfield for the season opener in Toronto, meaning Giancarlo Stanton likely will be at DH.
Boone is not concerned about Greg Bird’s slow spring, which continued with an 0-for-3 Tuesday that dropped him to 7-for-44.
“I think the patience [plate discipline] is at an elite level,” Boone said. “And that will allow him over time to be a really good hitter. The biggest thing for us is he’s healthy. We feel like if we can keep him healthy a big season’s in store.”