Aaron Judge has far from earned his place on the 2017 Yankees, and Joe Girardi indicated Saturday that he’s going to need to cut down on his strikeouts to become their rightfielder.
“The strikeouts are a concern,” said Girardi, noting that the 6-7, 275-pound Judge fanned 42 times in 84 at-bats. “For me, I think it’s making more contact, because when he hits it, there’s a real good chance that he’s going to hit it hard. He’s going to have misses that go out of the ballpark, that’s the bottom line, because he’s so big and strong. For me, it’s cutting down the strikeouts, and if he does that, I think he’s going to have success at this level.”
Judge doesn’t seem too distraught about his lack of contact. Strikeouts, he said, are part of the game and pitchers aren’t approaching him any differently from the way they did in Triple-A. “You’re going to have 500 at-bats a year and you’re going to make an out 300 times. It’s going to happen,” he said.
Judge hit .179 in 27 games — picking up 15 hits in the 42 at-bats in which he did hit the ball, a .357 average — but hasn’t played since Sept. 13 because of a right oblique strain.
For his pregame news conference, Girardi donned a blue T-shirt with the word “Yogi” inscribed across the chest. The shirt, he explained, was given to him by Yogi Berra’s granddaughter in an attempt to raise money for the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls, New Jersey. Shirts can be bought on yogiberramuseum.org for $29 ($23 in youth sizes) and proceeds go toward supporting the museum.
Bragging rights to Mets
With the Mets clinching a wild-card berth, this will be the first time since 1988 that the Mets go to the playoffs while the Yankees go home.
It’s their right
Girardi said he will have no problem if the Orioles clinch a wild-card berth today and take their celebration to the field. “If you win, you’ve earned that right,” he said. “If you don’t want people to celebrate, don’t let them beat you . . . They’ve earned that right.”