New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge wasn’t happy upon learning that the Sportsnet broadcast team insinuated he was cheating during his team’s 7-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays Monday.
Judge, who connected on home runs No. 9 and 10 in the win, said he had some “choice words” for the broadcast duo of Dan Shulman of Buck Martinez ahead of Game 2 of the four-game set between the AL East rivals.
“I got some choice words about that, but better to just keep that off the record,” Judge said, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post.
Judge hit his second homer of the night in the top half of the eighth inning off Blue Jays reliever Jay Jackson. Shulman and Martinez couldn’t help but notice Judge’s eyes were temporarily diverted from Jackson to the direction of the Yankees’ dugout.
The broadcast duo picked up on Judge’s apparent stare a couple pitches before he connected on the 462-foot dinger. Shulman began by saying he didn’t want to throw allegations around before Martinez chimed in.
“Once again, he’s looking at something, then the next move is that powerful swing, and he blasts one to center field. I’ve not seen that before with him,” Martinez said. “I’ve not ever seen that.”
Aaron Judge explains why he peered into Yankees dugout during at-bat
Three pitches prior to Judge’s 462-foot blast, home plate umpire Clint Vondrak ejected Yankees manager Aaron Boone for arguing a low strike call on Judge. While Shulman and Martinez speculated Judge was peering into the dugout in search of a signal, the 31-year-old said he heard chatter coming from his teammates in the aftermath of Boone’s ejection. Judge was displeased with his teammates voicing their displeasure during his at-bat, and claimed that to be the reason he stared into the dugout.
“I feel like after the manager does his thing, it’s like, ‘Fellas, our pitcher has still got to go out there and make some pitches. We’ve got the lead, let’s just go to work here,'” Judge said after the game, via ESPN. “I said a couple of things to some guys in the dugout and especially after the game. Hopefully it won’t happen again.”
Blue Jays respond to Aaron Judge’s explanation
The Blue Jays, however, had some doubts of Judge’s explanation.
“It’s kind of odd that a hitter would be looking in that direction,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said, via NJ.com. “He’s obviously looking in that direction for a reason. I think we’ll dive into that a little bit more tonight and tomorrow, and make sure that we’re doing everything we can to not make ourselves susceptible to tendencies, locations, pitches or anything like that.”
Judge, who missed time earlier this season with a hip strain, is back in a groove after a slow start to his campaign. Judge is hitting .274 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI to go along with a .957 OPS through 117 at-bats. After Monday’s performance, he’s up to 30 multi-homer games for his career. Only Babe Ruth (68), Mickey Mantle (46), Lou Gehrig (43) and Joe DiMaggio (35) have more multi-homer games in a Yankees uniform than Judge, via MLB.com.