TAMPA, Fla. — Giancarlo Stanton might play right field at times in New York Yankees’ home games this year, and Aaron Judge could be shifted to the more spacious left field in the Bronx.
“I think I have more of a flow when I’m in the outfield,” Stanton said Tuesday after the Yankees’ second full-squad workout. “Being in the outfield, you’re kind of more engaged in the game; whereas, DH, you’re inside a lot of the time, staying warm and hitting, and kind of watching the game from the TV as opposed to being out more engaged.”
Gold Glove winner Harrison Bader, acquired at last year’s trade deadline, figures to get the bulk of the starts in center.
Bader was injured at the time of his acquisition, but when active, he was a key cog in the Yankees’ offense. During the postseason, he led the team with five home runs and a .333 batting average.
“If we need to put Big G in right field at Yankee Stadium, move me to left, I don’t mind it,” Judge said. “I don’t mind switching around, so we can have Bader, me and the Big G out there. We’ll get some [game] reps, hopefully, at spring training and be comfortable out there.”
Judge played 78 games in center last year and 73 in right. He hasn’t played left field since 2016 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“I’m open to things like that, especially in the home ballpark,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ll just see how that goes in letting that play out. No decision on that yet, but it’s on my board.”
Stanton has battled a variety of injuries in four of his five seasons with New York. He was acquired from Miami following a 59-homer season in 2017 with the Marlins.
Stanton has topped 30 homers three times since but was limited to 18 games in 2019 and 110 last year. The closest he’s come to 59 homers with the Yankees was 38 during his initial season with New York.
Stanton played 34 games in right last season and four in left — all on the road. He didn’t play the outfield after July 21, soon before he went on the injured list with left Achilles tendinitis.
“You’ve got to stay healthy, you’ve got to stay out there,” Stanton said. “You’ve got be in a good rhythm throughout the months.”
Stanton still connected for 31 homers and drove in 78 runs during his injury-impacted season last year.
“He’s capable of putting up massive numbers,” Boone said. “That’s absolutely still in there.”
The Yankees haven’t reached the World Series since winning the 2009 title. They kept Judge with a $360 million, nine-year contract and added left-hander Carlos Rodon with a $162 million, six-year deal.
“We have all the pieces to get it done,” Stanton said. “We’re laying the foundation and understand the ultimate goal is a championship, and we haven’t got there.”
The 33-year-old Stanton admits pressure has increased for him to win his first World Series ring.
“I need to get it, but at the same time we need to get it done,” Stanton said. “That’s what I came here for, and that’s what I’m here to achieve every year.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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