Aaron Judge, who just a day or two ago seemed headed for the minors to get more playing time, instead will get regular at-bats somewhere else — as the starting right-fielder for the New York Yankees.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced Thursday that Judge had beaten out Aaron Hicks, who will be the team's fourth outfielder.
''That was a very tough call,'' Girardi told the AP. ''It was a very good competition. In the end, we thought Judge won the competition.''
Judge, who stands 6-7 and weighs 275 pounds, is rated the Yankees' No. 6 prospect, according to Baseball America. Girardi said the 24-year-old has shown progress this spring making contact. Although Judge hit four home runs in 27 games last year, he also struck out 42 times in 84 at-bats and hit .179.
''He had more consistent at-bats,'' Girardi said. ''There were less strikeouts. There was better contact, consistent contact. He got better and better as spring training went along.''
Girardi also announced that Luis Severino has locked down the fourth spot in the starting rotation. The 23-year-old right-hander had a 5.83 ERA and 1.45 WHIP last season in 22 appearances split between the bullpen and rotation.
''We didn't think there was one guy that really stood way above,'' Girardi said. ''I thought Sevie did a better job. I believe Sevie has the ability to perform. There's things he has to do, pitching down in the zone is one of them. Location is really important for Sevie.''