TAMPA — The era of Aaron Judge’s Yankees captaincy is about to kick into gear.
While pitchers and catchers have been working out at George M. Steinbrenner Field since Thursday, the rest of the Yankees’ position players will join them on Sunday when they report for physicals, ahead of the first full-squad workout on Monday.
It will be the first time the whole team is together since Judge re-signed with the Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million deal and then was named the 16th captain in franchise history.
“I don’t know if it’ll change [his day to day] that much,” manager Aaron Boone said Saturday. “I do think it’s been ratcheted up a little bit, coupled with the fact that he’s here now. Nine-year deal, he knows without a doubt, this is now his home and in a lot of ways, his team. I don’t think you’ll see that big of a change in the person and who he is and how he goes about things. But, I do think there’s that incremental step, probably, in leadership that he assumes a responsibility.”
Judge, who lives in the area, has been a frequent visitor at the Yankees’ player development complex this offseason, including most days for the past month. Boone cited that as a way in which he has already been leading as he heads into spring training.
The manager also said he will continue to confide in Judge, perhaps even more so, when he is considering certain things from a big-picture perspective with the team.
“I think his leadership just gets ratcheted up a little bit, but I think it’ll be fairly subtle in what it looks like,” Boone said.
Deivi Garcia threw live batting practice on Saturday afternoon as he began a crucial spring, perhaps his last as a Yankee. The former top pitching prospect is out of minor league options, meaning the Yankees would have to expose him to waivers if he does not make the Opening Day roster.
The 23-year-old right-hander, who made his MLB debut in 2020, split last year between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, pitching to a 6.89 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 32 walks across 64 innings.
“The key for him is going to be being able to command the strike zone at a high level,” Boone said. “That’s going to allow him to have success in the big leagues. Then also continuing to improve his arsenal against left-handed hitters. … For him, because he does have the unique delivery, it’s maintaining that delivery and the consistency of it to allow him to throw strikes at a high level.”
Clay Holmes, who dealt with back and shoulder injuries during the second half of last season, threw a bullpen session Saturday.
“He’s had a great winter,” Boone said. “He’s a worker, he’s very physical and I think he looks really good so far in camp.”