Aaron Judge has started the 2023 baseball season off with a bang.
Coming off an MVP season in 2022 in which the New York Yankees outfielder hit an American League record 62 home runs, Judge started the year right where he left off, on Thursday.
Aaron Judge, #99 of the New York Yankees, connects for a solo home run during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on March 30, 2023, in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
In the Yankees’ Opening Day matchup against the San Francisco Giants, Judge launched a 422-foot home run to dead center field on his first swing of the year.
Armed with a new nine-year, $360 million contract, the expectations have only increased for the Yankees captain as New York looks for its first World Series appearance since 2009.
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After his best year as a professional, leading MLB in on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686), and OPS (1.111), Judge is looking to improve in 2023.
Judge said he spoke with NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt in the offseason about his two-strike approach, an area where Judge is looking to improve.
Aaron Judge, #99 of the New York Yankees, poses for a photo with Derek Jeter after a press conference at Yankee Stadium on December 21, 2022, in Bronx, New York. (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
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“I told [Goldschmidt], ‘I saw you up close, and I watched your videos, talk to me about your approach,’” Judge told the New York Post. “He has a smaller, little stride and kind of waits there. That’s something I want to mix in. So I asked, ‘How do you do that? What’s your thought process in this situation or that?’”
Judge told The Post the focus “100 percent” is related to New York’s postseason struggles at the plate.
Aaron Judge, #99 of the New York Yankees, rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on March 30, 2023, in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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“That plays into it,” Judge said. “That is ultimately why we do all the work in spring training to be ready for the postseason and win games in the postseason. So that is what I am going to use spring training for: to hopefully master this [shorter stride in various two-strike situations] and then use the season to pick and choose moments where I need to bust this out — drive a guy in, move a guy over, get myself on base. All the regular season is, is practice for the real scene.”
The Yankees have the day off on Friday before concluding their three-game series with the Giants on Saturday and Sunday.
Joe Morgan is a Sports Reporter for Fox News.