All rise! Yankees slugger Aaron Judge picks up where he left off after record-breaking 2022 as he smashes a HUGE 422-foot home run in his FIRST at-bat of the new season
Aaron Judge made a sensational return to the new baseball season, hitting a huge homer off just the second pitch for the Yankees against the Giants.
After stepping up to the plate to a huge ovation, Judge sent a huge 422-foot shot deep to center off Logan Webb to get the Yankees off and running and into the lead in the first game of the season in front of a euphoric crowd at Yankee Stadium.
Newly appointed Yankees captain Judge, 30, nearly left the Bronx in the offseason and a move to the San Francisco Giants was a strong possibility.
But in his first at bat of the season Judge, who set an American League record of 62 home runs last year, picked up exactly where he left off in a stunning start.
It was the first home run of the new season for any team in the new season and remarkably, Judge’s first career Opening Day home run as well.
Aaron Judge started the new baseball season how he finished the last with a huge home run
Judge crushed a 422-foot shot deep through the center of the field for his first 2023 home run
It was a dream start for the Yankees and their star man, while Gerrit Cole was holding his part of the deal from the mound – starting with seven strikeouts against the Giants. Gleyber Torres then homered at the top of the fourth for the Yankees.
But all eyes were on Judge heading into the opening game. After getting appointed captain and signing a nine-year, $360million to remain in New York last December, he had to make a statement early.
It was reported the Giants offered Judge, who grew up in California, $400m to head to the west coast but he wanted to stay in the Big Apple.
Judge’s new terms came after essentially betting on himself to earn a greater deal last year. He headed into the 2022 campaign having rejected a $210m to sign new Yankees terms – and went on to have a season that went down in history.
He earned another $150m in the process. But ahead of the curtain raising game, Judge was typically measured in his tone when asked about what he wants to achieve in 2023.
‘Just trying to get one percent better every single day. Try to find a couple things throughout the season that I wanted to improve on,’ Judge told the YES network.
‘You’ve just got to hone in on that, don’t really look at the big picture. Just try to find two or three things you can kind of improve on and go to work.’
It has been 14 years since the Yankees last contested a World Series. Last seaosn, they were beaten by the eventual champion Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series.
Judge celebrates with Yankees teammate Josh Donaldson after his huge home run
And the Yankees captain saluted the fans as he made his way around the bases on Thursday
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