New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge took Major League Baseball by storm in 2022, and he is just getting started.
Armed with a brand new nine-year, $360 million contract, Judge is looking for more.
Last season, Judge launched 62 home runs, setting the American League record for home runs – passing Roger Maris – and was selected as the AL MVP.
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Judge did not shy away from the spotlight on Monday when asked if he could produce an encore.
“We’ll see. We’ll see,” Judge said with a smile when asked if he will hit 62 or more home runs in 2023.
“I don’t really like putting a number on it. I just kind of like going out there and trying to control what I can control, but you never know what could happen. So, we’ll see about 62.”
The 2022 season was a fascinating one for Judge – who bet on himself when he turned down an extension in the offseason – earning a massive contract with an incredible year.
“Last year was fun chasing history and having those moments,” Judge said, according to ESPN. “Every time we play in New York I feel like you’re chasing history. It’s never a cakewalk in the Bronx, that’s for sure. You have to embrace those challenges.”
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However, in New York, stats only take you so far.
The Yankees have failed to win a World Series since 2009 and have not made it past the ALCS in that time frame.
Against the Houston Astros, the Yankees were outclassed and swept out of the 2022 ALCS as Houston went on to win the World Series.
While Judge has been the face of the franchise over the past several years, his new contract and title of team captain carry even greater expectations.
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“I’ll be doing what I’ve been doing the past six or seven years, try and lead by example,” Judge said when asked about his captaincy. “Be a voice for this team on and off the field. Keep pushing this team to the ultimate goal of bringing a championship back to New York.
“That’s why I’m here. It’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to come back and wear pinstripes. Have a lot of unfinished business here. I’m looking forward to the new role, but stuff doesn’t change for me.”
The Yankees kick off their Spring Training slate on Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report