The Yankees haven’t played at Petco Park since 2016, and some of their players have never had an at-bat or thrown a pitch at San Diego’s baseball stadium.
So Aaron Judge said the Yankees weren’t just horsing around during their two workout days before Monday’s ALDS neutral-site opener against the Rays.
Another factor: All five games are scheduled to begin at either 4 or 5 p.m. local time, so the sun and shadows will be a factor in the early innings.
"That’s why we got a couple days to come here and work out," Judge said on Sunday. "Especially during the day. Check out how the wind is, what the sun’s doing. These workout days aren’t just kind of for show and stuff like that. We’ve got a lot of homework we’ve got to do, a lot of work we’ve got to do to prepare for this series. A lot of guys haven’t played in this ballpark before. Just trying to check out all the nooks and crannies of the outfield and the grass."
Petco Park has larger dimensions than Yankee Stadium, but it also has a funky short porch in rightfield and is only 322 feet to the rightfield foul pole. The Yankees are known to like short porches.
"Everyone complains about us using the short porch," said Luke Voit, who led MLB with 22 home runs. "You know, not all of our home runs are in the short porch. They have a short porch here . . . There are going to be bad shadows here the first couple of innings, so that will play a part. But this team’s got enough power to hit the ball over the fence. I’m not really worried about that.
"But again, it’s going to be a little different. It’s a bigger field. The gaps are a lot bigger, so I think you’re going to see a lot more doubles and triples and more first-to-home, so that’ll be an interesting part of the series, too."
Manager Aaron Boone said he’s noticed the outfield walls are being "re-wrapped" to take away all of the Padres-centric signage. Whether that affects how balls come off the fences will begin to show up on Monday.