He’s hitting homers again.
Aaron Judge put Monday’s Grapefruit League game against the Pittsburgh Pirates out of reach with a 347-foot, three-run homer that stretched the score to 6-0 in the second inning. It was one of 15 Yankee hits that led to a comfortable 9-2 victory over the Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
It was Judge’s first homer since hitting a solo shot in last October’s winner-take-all Game 5 victory against the Cleveland Guardians.
“It’s normal for us now to see that,” starter Domingo German said. “He signed a big contract and I know fans want to come out here and see things like that.”
German got the start on Monday and made a case to secure a spot in this season’s starting rotation. German pitched three innings, allowing just one hit and a walk. He also recorded four strikeouts. The righty has allowed only two hits and one earned run in 5.1 IP this spring, totaling seven strikeouts.
“Much better than the last one I think and it has to do with the work we’ve been putting in between,” said German about his most recent outing. “At this time in spring training that’s what you want. You want every single start to keep feeling better and better.”
German likely has the slight edge in the battle against Clarke Schmidt for the fifth spot in the Bombers’ rotation. Schmidt impressed in his first start against the Atlanta Braves last month, allowing no hits in two innings, but his most recent start didn’t help his case for the role. Against the Detroit Tigers on March 3, he gave up four earned runs on three hits including a homer.
ANTHONY VOLPE WATCH
The Yankees No. 1 prospect’s sharp play this spring reinstates why the 21-year-old is thought of so highly. The youngster went 1-2 with two walks and one strikeout against the Pirates. He got the start at shortstop, flashing his glove and continuing to make a case to start the season in the Bronx. In the second inning, Volpe charged on a slow chopper, fielded the ball, and made a clear transfer before firing a dart to Anthony Rizzo at first base to beat out Pirates center fielder Travis Swaggerty.
Rizzo and Volpe connected on a double play one inning prior to bail out Aaron Hicks, who committed an error in left field on the prior play. Rizzo fielded a groundball from outfielder Tucupita Marcano, tagged first and fired to Volpe at second base as the prospect made a clean tag to send shortstop Oneil Cruz back to the dugout.
Volpe’s play has drawn attention within the organization and is making the decision of who will start at shortstop on Opening Day a bit more difficult.
“It’s hard to answer what the criteria [for Volpe to become the Opening Day shortstop] is,” said Boone after the March 4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. “But we’re paying attention.”
OSWALD PERAZA HURT
Prospect Oswald Peraza is dealing lower leg soreness, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Boone said Peraza tweaked his lower left leg while stepping on a base during the March 2 victory against the Pirates. Boone expects Peraza to be in the lineup on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox