Sportress of Blogitude

Aaron Judge on batting leadoff in Friday’s game: ‘It’s no big deal’

Aaron Judge on Friday will bat leadoff in a game for the first time since high school when the New York Yankees face the Boston Red Sox in spring training action. And the slugger downplayed any added significance to such a substantial change to where he’s penciled in on the Yankees’ lineup.

“It doesn’t change at all,” Judge said Friday when asked if the leadoff role lends to changing his approach at the plate, via “It’s still the same game.”

The possibility of putting the power-hitting Judge in the leadoff spot in the batting order has been bandied about throughout spring training. Yankees skipper Aaron Boone clearly feels the change merits examination, previously hinting the 25-year-old phenom could see action at the top of the batting order against left-handers.

“We’ve talked about it a couple times,” Judge said of discussions with Boone on the topic. “This morning I wake up and I’m hitting leadoff. It’s no big deal. I think Gardy’s batting ninth, too. So once the game gets going, he’s still hitting in front of me. It’s no different.”

The Yankees’ thought on Judge batting leadoff is inspired by the belief it would lead to more at-bats for the reigning AL Rookie of the Year. As for Judge’s thoughts on it being something that may occur in the regular season? He’s not giving it much thought at this point.

“I’ve never really thought about it to be honest,” the 25-year-old said. “I never really hit leadoff or put my thought into it, or how it’s changed or how it’s evolved at all. Yeah, you’ve got a guy like (the Astros’) George Springer, who can give you 30 or 35 home runs a year. You’ve got him at leadoff, it’s pretty impressive.”

But it’s been quite awhile since Judge stepped into the batter’s box as a leadoff man.

“I might have done it in a high school game once,” Judge said.

Experiments such as the one the Yankees are taking with Judge make sense in spring training. It will be interesting to see if there’s any carryover once games start counting.