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Despite having a Major League leading 25 dingers, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge will not be participating in next month’s Home Run Derby.
As Judge sees it, he’s been there – done that.
“Nope. No need, I already did it once,” Judge told New York Post prior to Thursday’s game with Tampa Bay. “I’m all good with that.”
Judge was referring to his previous participation in the event as a rookie in 2017. After belting 47 total homers in Marlins Park, he walked away the Derby champion, becoming the first rookie to win the event outright.
.@TheJudge44 is on pace for 65 homers.
The chase for the big 6-0 is officially ON. 👀 pic.twitter.com/vWehSuH7eM
— MLB (@MLB) June 16, 2022
By skipping the Derby, Judge can turn his attention to getting New York back to playing October baseball – the Yankees currently have MLB’s best record – and attempting to break Roger Maris’ franchise record for home runs in a season (61).
Following the 2017 event, Judge’s second-half swing suffered. He batted just .185 in August and underwent offseason shoulder surgery.
Additionally, Judge will want to remain healthy and productive as free agency looms for 30-year-old. Prior to the season the three-time All-Star turned down the Yankees’ offer of $213.5 million over seven years. Next week he’ll be the focus of an arbitration hearing in which he’s seeking $21 million this season and the Yanks are countering with $17 million.
“We haven’t heard nothing. I’m preparing for us to go to court, that’s the plan,” Judge told The Post. “That’s what you prepare for, that’s why you have a team [of agents] for, to get you ready for that. We’re looking forward to it. All we gotta do is get ready for the hearing, and if they come to us, they come to us. We’ll see what happens.”
The Judge-less Home Run Derby is slated for July 18th from Dodger Stadium.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF