CINCINNATI - Aaron Judge was with Rob Refsnyder when the Yankees called last week and knows to be ready for anything. But one step away from the majors is not the time to be looking too far ahead.
"It was pretty cool being there," Judge said of Refsnyder's promotion. "But the biggest thing I actually learned was from a Double-A coach who told us 'just be where your feet are. Don't worry about what's happening above or below you. Just go out there and do what you can.' "
Judge's sizable cleats were standing at Great American Ball Park for Sunday's Futures Game, where the 6-7, 275-pound outfielder was the DH for Team USA and went 1-for-4 with an infield single. Yankees Double-A prospect Gary Sanchez, who caught for the World Team, was 1-for-2 with a double.
Judge is getting more attention after a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and is learning why that level can be so crucial to a player's development. "There's a lot of guys that pitched in the major leagues," he said, "so they know how to pitch. They're not going to give in to you. At 2-0, 3-1, they're not going to give you a pitch you can drive. They're going to nibble at the zone and see what you'll chase."
After hitting 12 homers with 44 RBIs in 63 games for Double-A Trenton, Judge is batting .268 with one homer and seven RBIs in 19 games for Scranton. He said his first invite to big-league camp in Tampa helped with his fast start and credited Alex Rodriguez with giving him some of the best advice.
"He just talked about sticking with your approach and not trying to do too much," Judge said. "Once you get called up to higher levels, you try to do a little bit more, you want to impress people. But just go out there and be who you are."
Based on that, Judge suggested A-Rod has a future in that kind of role once his playing days are over, saying: "He could definitely be a coach in his later years."