It was a mere week ago when a promising young rookie was setting the Yankees universe ablaze — the team’s faithful fans ready to anoint their star of the future.
No, not Gary Sanchez. The other one.
Though absolutely no one is ringing the alarm bells, it’s no secret that Aaron Judge has had a significant drop-off since going 5-for-12 in his first three games. One thing that might concern onlookers, though, is his high strikeout total which, going into Friday’s game against the Orioles, stood at 13 in his last 26 at- bats. Though teams seemingly have pounced on his apparent weakness for breaking balls, neither Judge nor Joe Girardi believe that his early returns were a complete fluke.
“I think his at-bats have been pretty good. I don’t think he’s just flailing away,” said Girardi of Judge, who came into Friday’s game riding a 3-for-26 slump. “You could say yes, he has those strikeouts . . .but he’s been productive for us.”
Judge, who was a streaky hitter in the minor leagues and has been fed a steady diet of breaking balls since his first three games, said he “wouldn’t say [it was the] breaking ball. It’s kind of all sorts of things, I guess. I’m not too sure. If I just stick to my approach . . . and get something that I can drive.”
For one thing, Judge’s hulking frame — at 6-7, he’s one of only a handful of position players to clock in at that height or taller — mean his strike zone is naturally larger than say, fellow rookie Ronald Torreyes (5-10). Girardi preached patience — Judge had played only 11 games — and stressed that the strikeouts weren’t a concern. Judge took it in stride, too.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Judge said. “You can’t have the positive without the negative, so you just try to take it one day at a time and just keep working.”
Brian McCann was not in the lineup Friday after the death of his grandmother. Girardi said it’s possible he would not be available Saturday, either.