Judge helps Scottsdale rally past Glendale

Yankees outfield prospect sparks Scorpions' comeback in big eighth inning

Judge helps Scottsdale rally past Glendale

Right fielder Aaron Judge said he felt some butterflies while he was warming up Friday for his first game in the Arizona Fall League. Those nerves were long gone by the time he stepped in the batter's box in the bottom of the eighth inning with two runners on base and Scottsdale trailing Glendale by two runs.

Judge cleared the bases with a double to left, tying the game, and then came around to score when first baseman Greg Bird, his teammate in the Yankees' system, followed with a single. Judge's run capped a four-run rally that propelled Scottsdale to a 6-5 victory against Glendale.

Judge, the Yankees' No. 5 prospect, said the rally started because the Scorpions were disciplined in their approach at the plate.

"Just going out there and swinging at good pitches," Judge said. "Our pitching staff kept us in it and we started it off with attacking good pitches in good counts."

Judge finished the night 1-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Bird, the Yankees' No. 11 prospect, went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI to continue his hot start to the AFL. He is hitting .438/.471/.813 with five RBIs in four games.

Judge and Bird were teammates for two months during the regular season at Class A Advanced Tampa. Judge said he admires Bird for his abilities on and off the field.

"Greg is a great hitter and a great leader," Judge said. "He gets the job done day in and day out."

Entering the eighth inning, the game had been tied at 2 since the fifth. But in the top half of the eighth, Glendale broke the deadlock with three runs off right-hander Alex Smith, thanks in part to an error by left fielder Daniel Carbonell that led to two unearned runs. The Desert Dogs could have added more runs, but Judge threw out a runner at the plate.

Center fielder Tyrone Taylor, the Brewers' top prospect, went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI to lead the Desert Dogs offense. Shortstop Corey Seager, the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect, added two hits and an RBI.

But, thanks to their own eighth-inning rally, the Scorpions took the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Right-hander Kyle Haynes threw a perfect ninth to close out the victory and earn the save.

Haynes also played with Judge and Bird in Tampa. He is completing his first year in the Yankees organization after being traded from the Pirates in exchange for Chris Stewart last December.

Judge said he is enjoying being able to play with other Yankees prospects in the AFL.

"It's fun playing with good players in system," Judge said. "We're all just working our way towards the Bronx."

Judge is still in the early stages of that journey. The Yankees drafted him out of Fresno State with the 32nd overall pick of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, but his professional debut was delayed until this spring by a quad injury. Judge made quick work of the lower levels of the Minor Leagues once he got on the field, hitting .308/.419/.486 with 17 home runs in 131 games between Class A Charleston and Tampa.

Judge said most of the lessons he has learned this year have been about the mental aspects of the game. This fall, he said he is working on his approach at the plate with Scottsdale hitting coach P.J. Pilittere, who held the same job on the Tampa coaching staff this season.

"Me and him talk about getting championship at bats every time," Judge said. "I may go 0-for-50 while I'm here, but if I have 50 quality at-bats, I'll be happy with that."

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.