Judge on cover of 'MLB The Show 18'

First rookie to be featured on U.S. release of game

Judge on cover of 'MLB The Show 18'

NEW YORK -- "MLB The Show" might need a bigger box for 2018.

Having enjoyed a record-setting rookie season that helped him become a finalist for the American League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year Awards, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has been selected as the cover athlete for "MLB The Show 18."

MLB The Show 18

"It's tough to describe, to be honest," Judge said on ESPN. "Just being in a video game is an honor, and being on the cover, I can't really describe it."

Judge made the rounds in a variety of interviews on the ESPN platform on Tuesday, touching upon the honor as well as a number of topics related to the Yankees' season.

He said that he had been "surprised" by the announcement that the Yankees were parting ways with manager Joe Girardi coming off a season in which the team finished one victory shy of the World Series, falling to the Astros in a seven-game AL Championship Series.

"Joe was there for 10 years, had a winning season every year, and he was my first manager," Judge said. "He was the guy that gave me an opportunity, and he always had my back, through the good times and the bad times. It's going to be tough. We're all going to miss Joe, but we'll see who we get for these next couple years."

Judge set a rookie record with 52 homers in 2017, breaking Mark McGwire's 30-year-old mark set in 1987. Judge batted .284/.422/.627 with 114 RBIs in the regular season and had a memorable victory in the Home Run Derby at Marlins Park, in which he hit 47 homers.

"I'm just happy how our team did this year," Judge said. "A lot of people were doubting us, saying it was a rebuilding year, and we put together a fantastic year. It didn't end the way we wanted it to, but we put on a show, and it was quite a run."

In the 13-year history of "MLB The Show," Judge is the first rookie to be selected for the cover honor in a U.S. release. He is also the first Yankees player to grace the cover.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.