“That’s what baseball needs,” the Hall of Famer and longtime Yankee told NJ Advance Media outside George M. Steinbrenner Field on Sunday morning.
Judge and Winfield chatted a few minutes in the clubhouse after the Yankees met with MLB Players Association representatives, which included Winfield.
“He seems like a great kid,” the 65-year-old said of Judge, 24. “I like those big, athletic guys. I always talk to him when I see him.”
What was Winfield’s message Sunday to Judge, who’s fighting for the starting right field job in camp?
“I told him, ‘Keep getting better everyday. Your time will come,'” he said. “I’m pulling for him.”
Judge and Winfield have known each other for years. Still, he was in awe of Winfield, with whom he’s frequently been compared.
Judge stands at 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds. Winfield, in his prime, was 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. They’re both right fielders. Winfield finished with 465 homers after 22 seasons, nine with the Yankees.
“It’s an honor” to be compared to Winfield, Judge said. “Any time you have a chance to be in the same sentence as a Hall of Famer, it’s pretty cool. But Dave’s great. I had a chance last year — I really picked his brain during camp about when he played and what he approach was and how he played the game and it was a lot of good stuff.”
Said Winfield, “He’s impressive. You think I’m a big guy?”
Winfield said he didn’t get much of chance to watch Judge in the majors last year, but he thinks he has all he needs to succeed.
“He’s got great athletic ability,” Winfield said, “a fantastic disposition and he’s just the kind of person that baseball needs.”