Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees’ “Home Run King,” had nothing but praise for his rival, Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels). Ohtani currently leads all Major Leaguers in home runs with 35. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before he breaks his own major league single-season home run record of 46 and the American League single-season home run record of 62 set by Jersey last year.
Currently on the disabled list with a torn thumb ligament in his right hand, Judge spoke to reporters before the Angels’ game on Tuesday (ET). While he is currently on the disabled list, he was so in-demand that he was able to make it happen.
He answered a barrage of questions about Ohtani, all of which were entertaining. “Ohtani’s performance this season has been fun to watch. His performance is amazing. It’s not fun to go head-to-head,” he said, “but records are there to be broken. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ohtani can do,” he said, adding that he would welcome his own home run record being broken.
“I like watching him hit more than I like watching him pitch. The way he pitches on the mound is great. But at the plate, he’s even better. Ohtani is an unprecedented player,” he said.
After hitting 19 home runs, Judge is on an extended layoff due to injury. “I wasn’t conscious of the record last year,” he said, “but I think I was after I hit 61 homers. It was a different atmosphere in the stadium because everyone was standing up and cheering. It was hard to concentrate on the game, the crowd wanted to see history, and I needed to stay focused, so I purposely didn’t think about anything else,” he recalled.
Jersey added: “Physically, Ohtani is capable of hitting 80 or 100 home runs. He has that kind of talent. But I think the important thing is mental. It’s about how you block out the external factors when the record is coming.”