TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork) — Some Yankees fans caught the first glimpse Monday of what is sure to be a regular spectacle in ballparks across the country this season: Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge taking batting practice as teammates.
At the first full-squad workouts of spring training in Tampa, the Yanks sluggers were paired together at BP, a must-see event for anyone at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Stanton clobbered four homers while Judge, who is working his way back after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, belted two, drawing oohs, aahs and applause from the crowd.
“The moment we touched the dirt, they were buzzing and ready for us to get in the cage and hit, so that was really cool,” Stanton said. “Nothing like I’d experienced in spring.”
The Yankees led the American League with 241 home runs last season and finished one win short of reaching the World Series. Then in December, they traded with the Miami Marlins for Stanton, the reigning National League MVP who led Major League Baseball with 59 home runs.
Judge won American League Rookie of the Year last season and hit an AL-best 52 homers.
So naturally, there’s quite a bit of interest in the dynamic duo.
Brooks Cook and his son Brody from New Port Richey, Florida, positioned themselves in left field, about 375 feet from the plate.
“We might be too close,” Brooks Cook said.
Brooks Cook noted there were more than Yankees’ fans in attendance.
“I have a friend who’s a die-hard Red Sox who’s coming to see them hit,” Brooks Cook said. “A Red Sox fan.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone admitted that he got caught up in the moment, too.
“It was exciting,” he said. “A little bit of a rush.”
Stanton might be the more experienced of the two, but he said he’s looking forward to learning some things from Judge.
“Just bounce ideas off each other,” Stanton said. “I’m new. I’m a deer in headlights here, too. So I’m asking him questions, getting to know how things work around here and taking in all the information I can get.”
And Judge’s admiration for Stanton is clear.
“You can hear it. It comes off his bat different,” Judge said.
Of course, there’s another big-time slugger in the Bombers’ lineup who shouldn’t go overlooked — Gary Sanchez, who hit 53 home runs in the first 177 games of his career.
“It’s exciting to see, and we’re all working on what’s going to help us perform,” Stanton said. “But at the same time, we’re all exciting to watch. We’re our own fans, and we understand everyone in the stands, too.”
The interest in batting practice this season is so great that Yankees are opening the gates three hours before spring home games, rather than the two hours they had done in past years.