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Giancarlo Stanton’s first home run of spring training revives questions of what he and Aaron Judge can do together

Aaron Boone says he will hit Judge, Stanton and Gary Sanchez back-to-back-to-back against lefthanded starters.

The Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton takes batting practice during

The Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton takes batting practice during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 20, 2018. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

TAMPA, Fla. — As Dellin Betances spoke in the Yankees’ clubhouse in the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday afternoon, a loud crack of the bat from the TV broadcast of the game interrupted his train of thought.

Betances glanced up as Giancarlo Stanton’s first homer of spring training — on a 1-and-2 fastball from the Mets’ Matt Harvey — sailed well over the wall in right-center.

“Oh. My. Gosh,” Betances said with a smile. “You’ll see a lot of that [this season].”

The Yankees, of course, are counting on it.

From Stanton — and Aaron Judge, too.

The pair, who hit back-to-back Saturday, both had good days in the Yankees’ 10-3 victory. Judge, batting second and 1-for-10 entering the game, went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and two runs scored. Stanton, batting third, went 1-for-2, was hit by a pitch and drove in two runs with the home run on Harvey’s 94-mph fastball.

“I already know what we can do,” Stanton said of the duo, who totaled 111 homers and 246 RBIs last season. “It’s good to put it out there and keep it rolling. It’s good to start to get a little dynamic of being in the same lineup.”

Said Judge: “You see what he does. He’s having great at-bats, using the whole field.”

Stanton, acquired from the Marlins in the offseason after hitting 59 homers and earning National League MVP honors, has gotten off a good start. He is 7-for-21 with the home run and four doubles.

Three of those doubles have been of the opposite-field variety, similar to where the home run traveled. Judge preceded the blast with a walk.

“I needed earplugs at first base. That was loud,” Judge said of Stanton’s homer. “He didn’t try to do too much. Just drove it out to right. That was a thing of beauty. I’m excited for the rest of spring training and the upcoming year.”

Manager Aaron Boone said he hasn’t decided on a batting order. He has tinkered with splitting up his most dangerous hitters — Stanton, Judge and Gary Sanchez, all of whom bat righthanded — with a lefthanded batter such as Didi Gregorius or Greg Bird.

Boone did disclose that he will bat them back-to-back-to-back against lefthanded starting pitchers “more often than not” and could choose to do the same against righthanders.

“It could be fluid throughout the year, but I’ve absolutely considered, whether it’s right- or lefthanded pitching, there’s a case to be made for just going Judge-Stanton-Sanchez,” Boone said. “In a perfect world, maybe you split it up, but not something I’m married to.”

Judge and Stanton certainly are all for batting back-to-back.

“I like it because I’m probably going to score like 200 runs with him hitting behind me,” Judge said. “I just have to get on base for him.”

What could the duo combine to do?

“All you can go off of is our stats from the previous year for what you think we can do,” Stanton said with a smile. “Then you put us together, and who knows after that.”

As for the leftfield experiment involving the two, what was fairly clear two weeks ago from reading the tea leaves is becoming clearer as the exhibition schedule unfolds.

Regardless of the verbiage suggesting otherwise, if one of the sluggers is going to see time in left during the regular season, it’s likely going to be Stanton. He started in leftfield Saturday, bringing the scoreboard indicating leftfield starts to Stanton 4, Judge 0.

Boone said “it’s possible” that Judge could see some time in leftfield, but he sounded less committed to it than he had.

“Nothing in [the next] three, four days,” he said. “We’ll see.”

Stanton, who lost two balls in the sun in his first start in leftfield last Sunday, said he’s felt more comfortable every time out.

“Each time,” said Stanton, who didn’t get much activity there Saturday, “I’m feeling a little better.”


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