Judge should be next Yankees captain, teammate Cortes says

Oct 22, 2022, 1:19 AM | Updated: 1:27 pm
New York Yankees Aaron Judge (99) watches his ball fly out during the first inning in Game 2 of bas...

New York Yankees Aaron Judge (99) watches his ball fly out during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

              New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes talks to reporters during a baseball news conference before Game 3 of an American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
              New York Yankees Aaron Judge (99) runs on his single during the third inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nestor Cortes envisions Aaron Judge in an elevated role with the New York Yankees next season: Derek Jeter’s successor as captain.

“If he’s back here next year, he’s our captain. He’s the next captain,” Cortes said Saturday before Game 3 of the AL Championship Series. “We follow everything he does. He leads by example. He’s not really a guy that comes out and screams at anybody. But if he has to, that’s his job. I think he’s earned that right to keep us in check.”

Judge set an American League record with 62 homers this season, tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and was second in the AL in hitting at .311. The 30-year-old outfielder is eligible for free agency after earning $19 million this year. In the hours before opening day, he turned down a deal that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29 and said then “I want to be a Yankee for life.”

All teams are eligible to negotiate with Judge starting on the sixth day after the World Series, and Y ankees general manager Brian Cashman realizes the price has gone up.

Cortes said there was no need to tell Judge he deserves to be captain.

“I’m sure he knows it already,” the pitcher said. “He’s just the guy for it. I feel like we follow his steps every time. Like I’ve said before, he’s the last one to leave from the clubhouse on the road, and we don’t leave until he leaves. We just follow his act. We follow everything he does. I think he’s a perfect example for the game of baseball, for the kids that are coming up and learning from the game. Sometimes I ask myself, how does he have so much time to stop for interviews and signatures? But he finds a way.”

New York has had six captains in the Steinbrenner family era: Thurman Munson (1976-79), Graig Nettles (1982-84), Willie Randolph (1986-88), Ron Guidry (1986-89), Don Mattingly (1991-95) and Jeter (2003-14).

Earlier captains included Clark Griffith (1903-05), Kid Elberfeld (1906-08), Willie Keeler (1909), Hal Chase (1910-11), Frank Chance (1913 to midseason), Rollie Zelder (1913 midseason until end), Roger Peckinpaugh (1914-21), Babe Ruth (1922) and Lou Gehrig (1935-39).

Cortes beat Cleveland on short rest Tuesday in the decisive Game 5 of the Division Series. The 27-year-old left-hander is scheduled to start Game 4 of the LCS against Houston on Sunday night.

Cortes was a first-time All-Star this season and went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts, quite the turnaround for a pitcher designated for assignment by the Yankees in November 2019 and allowed to become a free agent by Seattle a year later when the Mariners assigned him outright to the minors.

“Last year I used to take the subway. Nobody really recognized me because of the mask,” he said, referring to the pandemic requirement. “This year, maybe like three or four starts into the season, I remember going shopping one day and getting stopped a few times to take pictures — just greeting me. So that felt kind of cool. Now it’s just, everywhere I go I have a little hoodie on and stuff.”

He laughed.

“It’s great to be recognized,” he said. “Obviously when you’re doing good it’s even better because you know people like you. But, hopefully, I’m still loved from here on out.”


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Then-Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza walks on the sideline during the first half of a prese...
Associated Press

Ex-Bills punter Araiza won’t be charged in alleged gang rape

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza will not be charged in connection with an alleged gang rape of a 17-year-old girl at an off-campus party last year when he played football for San Diego State University, prosecutors said Wednesday. The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said no charges will be […]
15 hours ago
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) takes off in the first half of an NFL football gam...
Associated Press

McVay: Baker Mayfield likely to be active for Rams vs Vegas

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coach Sean McVay says Baker Mayfield probably will be active for the Los Angeles Rams’ game against the Raiders on Thursday night, just two days after the Rams claimed the former No. 1 draft pick off waivers from Carolina. McVay wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Mayfield playing against Las Vegas, […]
15 hours ago
University of Virginia Athletic Director Carla Williams, left, and football coach Tony Elliott wipe...
Associated Press

Virginia football players granted extra year of eligibility

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to Virginia football players whose eligibility has expired in the aftermath of the slaying of three members of the team, the school confirmed Wednesday. Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed last month as they returned to campus from […]
15 hours ago
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal meets the media to announce the Netherlands World Cup 2022 squad, ...
Associated Press

Van Gaal’s World Cup with Dutch has hugs, kisses and dancing

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Three wins from the title that has eluded the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal has filled his World Cup with hugs, kisses and dancing. Leading his nation for the third time at age 71, he is the tournament’s oldest coach. He also may be the most dapper, pacing the sideline in a […]
2 days ago
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh smiles after defeating Purdue in the Big Ten championship NCAA col...
Associated Press

Study: Racial gap in grad rates drops again for bowl teams

The racial gap in graduation rates for this year’s bowl teams in college football has declined again, this time to the smallest difference in the history of a study examining the data. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at Central Florida reported Wednesday that the overall Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for bowl-bound […]
2 days ago
Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts the winners; 3c x 1/4 inches...
Associated Press

Pro Picks sees Rams making history to kick off Week 14

The Los Angeles Rams can make history when Week 14 kicks off Thursday night. A loss to the Las Vegas Raiders would give the Rams 10 this season, tying the 1999 Denver Broncos for most by a defending Super Bowl champion. With plenty of games remaining, the Rams (3-9) are well on their way to […]
2 days ago
Judge should be next Yankees captain, teammate Cortes says