The Yankees' Aaron Judge head to the dugout after a...

The Yankees' Aaron Judge head to the dugout after a groundout during the first inning of a game against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, on Monday. Credit: AP/LM Otero

ARLINGTON, Texas — It was Chase Headley, of all people, who first connected the two players.

After watching then-rookie Aaron Judge homer in his third straight game, an 8-4 victory over the Rays at the Stadium on April 12, 2017, the veteran third baseman was taken not so much by the prodigious power but by the overall bat control demonstrated by the 6-7, 282-pound outfielder.

“He is not a guy that has to take a big swing,” Headley said. “That is the beauty of being a massive human being. When you have that kind of power, you can just be simple and short to the ball. It is kind of a Miguel Cabrera-type thing. He can take a really short swing.”

Cabrera was well into what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career and a player Judge had long admired. Now the two are linked again as Judge began the final four games of the regular season trying to become the American League’s first Triple Crown winner since Cabrera, now 39, pulled off the feat in 2012.

Judge is second in the AL batting race at .311, just behind the Twins’ Luis Arraez at .315 (Boston’s Xander Bogaerts is at .305). With 61 homers, Judge is a shoo-in to win the AL home run crown (the Angels Mike Trout is next at 39), and he is all but certain to take the RBI crown (he is at 130, eight more than the Guardians’ Jose Ramirez).

Judge (1-for-4) grounded out, lined into a double play, reached on an infield single and struck out Monday. Despite hitting into six double plays in the first seven innings, the Yankees beat the Rangers, 3-1, thanks to eighth-inning homers by Marwin Gonzalez and Giancarlo Stanton (457 feet, No. 30).

“A Triple Crown would be amazing,” Judge said Sunday. “I think we’re still a long way from that. We’ll see how these next four games go.”

Though Judge possibly eclipsing the AL record of 61 homers set by Roger Maris in 1961 has commanded the vast majority of attention when it comes to his season, one gets the sense that a Triple Crown would be just as meaningful for him.

Starting with that breakout 2017 season, when he was the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year after hitting a then-rookie-record 52 homers, Judge has always talked about the importance of being seen as a “complete hitter” and not just a slugger.

The kind of hitter he’s looked up to since his high school and college days include Albert Pujols and Cabrera (Judge, while at Fresno State, often watched clips of Cabrera at-bats).

“As a kid, you look up and you see Albert Pujols hitting .330 every year and consistently put up the RBI numbers and stuff like that,” Judge said recently. “So for me, grading the hitter has always been about average. I might be a little old-school, but can you hit or can you hit? It’s always been a goal of mine to try and get to that point and do that.”

Judge — named AL player of the month for the third time this season on Monday after hitting .417 (35-for-84) with 10 homers, 26 runs, eight doubles, 17 RBIs, 30 walks, a .565 on-base percentage and an .869 slugging percentage in 25 games in September — has an admirer in Cabrera.

“Wow. What Aaron Judge is doing is incredible,” Cabrera told ESPN’s Marly Rivera on Sept. 22. “It is so exciting to see what he is doing and the way he is absolutely dominating almost every offensive category this season. I think his season is going to be remembered as one of the best in baseball history. I hope that Judge becomes the next Triple Crown winner and I hope [he] wins the MVP.”

Judge has a 31-game on-base streak that began Aug. 29. In the first 30 games entering Monday, he was hitting .398 with a .562 on-base percentage, an .847 slugging percentage and a 1.409 OPS in that span (39-for-98 with 37 walks, 10 intentional).

As for the chase for No. 62 — among the few dramatic story lines left for the final week with all but the NL East title decided — Aaron Boone said that will impact how he rests Judge the rest of the way.

“A lot’s contingent on that, so I don’t have a plan in place yet,” said Boone, who added that Judge playing in both ends of Tuesday’s split doubleheader is a possibility. “He’s in there today and then he and I will get together after the game and have those conversations and decide what the best course is .  .  . Sure, I’d love for him to do it and then really get him in or out of there how I want.”

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