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Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge feeling good physically as season approaches 

Yankees outfielders Aaron Judge, right, talks with Giancarlo

Yankees outfielders Aaron Judge, right, talks with Giancarlo Stanton after warming up their arms during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 24. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Judge and Stanton. Stanton and Judge.

They are big men in the Yankees’ lineup in more ways than one. The need to keep them healthy for a 162-game season is one of the huge challenges for the 2021 Yankees.

With Opening Day fast approaching, it’s so far, so good for the sluggers.

"I feel good," Giancarlo Stanton said on Saturday. "It’s going well."

"I’m feeling great," Aaron Judge said earlier in the week. "Always feeling good. This is one of the first springs coming in [with] no injuries from the offseason. So, feeling great. Seeing the ball well. Feel like I’ve been having great at-bats. Swinging at the pitches I want to. Now it’s just kind of time to ramp it up."

The results aren’t there for Judge yet. He hasn’t hit a home run in spring training and is batting .250 with eight strikeouts in 28 at-bats.

Still, manager Aaron Boone said he’s "excited about where AJ’s at."

Two things about that: Managers always say they are excited about their players, regardless of what they are seeing. And have you ever heard anyone call Judge "AJ" before?

Maybe Boone was just trying it out. The manager’s main concern is calling on Judge as many times as possible this season. He played in 28 of 60 regular- season games last year.

"This year, he went into the offseason healthy and I think had a really good offseason as far as putting himself in a really good position physically," Boone said. "We’ve built him up to where [Friday] night he plays eight innings . . . Feel like he’s moving really well in the field. He’s had a lot of opportunities this spring to run the bases and kind of go [first to third]. Those things are nice to have happen in spring training. So with 10 or 11 days to go here in spring, I’m really excited about where he is and the spring he’s had."

Boone also is excited about Stanton, who is batting .333 with one home run, five RBIs and a 1.011 OPS in eight games.

Stanton, who played in 23 regular- season games in 2020 and 18 in 2019, is ready for the season to begin.

"Ready to rock," he said. "These are the times in spring where it’s that, ‘Can we get things going here?’ It’s good for you to just refine any last bits of the swing and timing and all that to be ready to go. It’s going to be fun."

Stanton hasn’t played the outfield in spring training and said he doesn’t plan to do so. He doesn’t think it would help to play a few innings in the outfield in Florida to prepare for the chance that he’ll play defense, say, three or four weeks or even a few months into the season.

But Stanton does think he’s going to spend some time in the outfield for the first time since 2019. One date to watch is June 12, when the Yankees play their first game in a National League ballpark (Philadelphia) in a season that still is scheduled to be played without the universal DH.

Extra bases

Michael King allowed one run in four innings in the Yankees’ 2-1 loss to the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. King gave up two hits, walked one and struck out six to lower his ERA to 3.46 . . . Gio Urshela hit a second-inning home run off former Mets ace Matt Harvey, who allowed one run in four innings in his bid to revive his career with Baltimore . . . Jonathan Loaisiga allowed his first run of spring training when he gave up a homer to Pat Valaika in the fifth . . . Jay Bruce, who went 0-for-3 and made a sliding catch in left, may find out by Thursday if he has made the team. That’s when he can opt out of his contract if the Yankees don’t add him to the 40-man roster. "We’ll see in five days," said Bruce, whose average is down to .231 after a hot start. "I don’t know. I’m eager to find out." . . . Clint Frazier, who was on the original travel roster for the game, did not make the trip. "I’m fine," he posted during the game on Twitter.

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