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Sportress of Blogitude

Aaron Judge still has no regrets over skipping Home Run Derby

Aaron Judge enjoyed simply being a spectator at the Home Run Derby last week as opposed to dealing with the grind of actually competing in the competition.

The New York Yankees slugger was the defending champ, having won it last year at Marlins Park. Judge had long expressed no interest in participating in this year’s edition and on Sunday expressed no regrets over not defending his title.

“I loved it, I enjoyed it,” Judge said of last week’s Derby, via the New York Post. “I think I had more — I had a blast sitting back and watching it and seeing the crowd’s reactions, seeing the guys out there giving it their all. I enjoyed it kicking it on the side.”

Judge, after stating in April he was leaning against not competing in the Derby confirmed as much in May, saying, “There’s no need to do it.”

Judge’s lack of enthusiasm for competing in another Home Run Derby arguably could stem from how he went into a protracted slump following his winning display of power last year in Miami.

The Yankees slugger hit 30 homers and batted .329 in 84 games before the All-Star break last season. Afterward? In the first 60 games following the Derby, Judge batted .195 with only 14 home runs.

Judge refused to blame his post-All-Star slump last season on the Derby, nor did he implicate participating in the showcase as playing a role in the need for arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in November. Though Judge did point out the wear and tear the Derby can have on players.

“Especially not having taken another 500 swings on a time you’re supposed to be on a break,” Judge said Sunday. “So any time you can actually use the All-Star break as a time to recover and rest up, you always feel better.”

The Home Run Derby has suffered in a large sense due to the exhibition’s lack of attracting true star power, something that has become more prevalent with each passing year. Judge, along with teammate Giancarlo Stanton, among others, electing to pass on the Derby illustrates the issue.