Yankees: Watch Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton Drill Homers off James Paxton

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees -. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees -. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge destroyed a home run off James Paxton in his first at-bat back from a stiff neck.

Bad news: James Paxton is getting roughed up ahead of starting Game 2 for the Yankees next week in DC.

Good news: the damage is coming at the hands of his teammates, one of whom had been scratched with a mysterious stiff neck for several days.

First, Aaron Judge got the party started in his return to the diamond, socking the second pitch he saw from Paxton dead center, off the netting.

Judge’s neck looked flexible on that one, honestly!

The visual indication, pregame, is that he’s been having quite a bit of cupping work done on the stiff spot. Clearly, it got the blood flow going in some capacity.

After retiring Gleyber Torres, Paxton unfortunately was responsible for Giancarlo Stanton emerging from his preseason slump, too.

Stanton pulled his hands in to perfection, slicing a laser into the empty seats in left field.

It doesn’t take much effort to make jokes like this, but hey, I’m not in midseason form yet, either: how ’bout James Paxton’s first inning woes, huh?!

While we’re a little concerned about our No. 2 starter’s efficiency (Note: about the lowest level of legal concern you can have), it’s a beautiful morning whenever the team’s two central sluggers, one of whom ignited all-new injury questions over the weekend, are back and mashing.

Two things are true about Judge, specifically: you can’t question his toughness, but you can worry about the things he can’t control.

If it was fully his choice, and if there were no consequences, he would’ve practiced through a stiff neck. After all, he played through a fractured rib and lung puncture in the playoffs last year, right?

But, by any metric, it wasn’t worth it. If Judge continually fails to get right, it’s doing all parties a disservice. We’re not looking down upon him; we’re just worried about what keeps happening to him.

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Safe to say we shut up on two pitches tonight, though.