All rise, Aaron Judge is healthy again

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY GEORGE DICKIE

In 2018, the New York Yan­kees set a sin­gle-sea­son record for home runs by a team by go­ing deep 267 times.

Now, Bronx Bomber Aaron Judge and his out­field mate Brett Gard­ner say they can do it again. And there’s no rea­son to be­lieve they can’t.

Judge, for one, will be lead­ing the as­sault. Af­ter hit­ting 52 dingers in his rookie cam­paign of 2017, the 26-year-old Cal­i­for­nian was sup­posed to team with new co­hort Gian­carlo Stan­ton in ‘18 to form a fear­some 1-2 punch that some thought could pro­duce triple-digit homers be­tween them. But a bro­ken wrist suf­fered when he was hit by a pitch in late July caused Judge to miss two months, thus lim­it­ing him to 27 homers in 112 games.

Now healthy again, the man nick­named “All Rise” is feel­ing good about him­self and his team. The Yanks had 12 play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures in home runs last year and Judge, Stan­ton (38), in­field­ers Gley­ber Tor­res (24), Didi Gre­go­rius (27) and Miguel An­du­jar (27) and out­fielder Aaron Hicks (27) all topped 20. Given that lineup (mi­nus Gre­go­rius, who will start the sea­son on the dis­abled list), Judge fig­ures to get a lot of good pitches to hit, and with him play­ing half his games in the band­box of Yan­kee Sta­dium, just about any­thing is pos­si­ble. Some have men­tioned MVP and even team cap­taincy in his near fu­ture.

One who ex­pects big things is the man known as “Mr. Oc­to­ber,” who pa­trolled Judge’s po­si­tion of right field in the Bronx 40 years ago.

“His com­pe­ti­tion, for me, is in the mon­u­ments,” Hall-ofFamer Reg­gie Jack­son has said. “... If you look at some of the things he has done, he com­pares to (Babe) Ruth and (Lou) Gehrig. He’s put up crazy num­bers.”

Judge and the Yan­kees can be seen in ac­tion Thurs­day, March 28, when they open their 2019 reg­u­lar sea­son at Cam­den Yards against the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles in a game air­ing on ESPN.

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