Aaron Judge handles left field for five innings in Minor League game
TAMPA - Aaron Judge made his first game appearance in left field on Saturday, playing five defensive innings and making one putout in a Class-A game at the Yankees' Player Development Complex.
Yankees first base coach and outfield coordinator Reggie Willits stayed behind to watch Judge, and after the Yankees' Grapefruit League loss to the Tigers in Lakeland, manager Aaron Boone had a quick report.
"Not much work there to see," Boone said.
Judge did not bat in the game, instead taking batting practice with the stay-back group earlier Saturday morning at Steinbrenner Field. He might not get much more work out in left, either; Boone said in Lakeland that it was "possible but not definite" that Judge may see some left field action in a Grapefruit League game, but the skipper also said that his preference is not to have both Judge and Giancarlo Stanton moving around during the season.
"I don't want to have to move both of them, if I can," Boone said. "But, in both cases, I need to prepare them both for that extreme situation if something comes up."
Boone's quote, combined with the Yankees' deployment of both Judge and Stanton so far this spring, seems to indicate that Stanton would be the one to move to left field on days both sluggers play defensively. He has already made four starts in Grapefruit League games in left already, while today marked Judge's first game action of any kind out there.
Stanton has never played left field in the Majors - in fact, one inning in center field in 2011 is his only defensive action outside of right field - but he did play the position six times in the minors, once in 2008 and five times in 2010, and also has 46 career minor-league appearances in center field.
Judge, meanwhile, has exclusively played right field as a major-leaguer, but he played eight games in center for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2015, and played three games in center and seven in left for the RailRiders in 2016.