It’s been two days since Aaron Judge received the slightest slap on the wrist from Major League Baseball for his tampering-esque comments toward Manny Machado, and the 25-year-old shortstop told reporters on Friday that the incident doesn’t need any more press.
“I think it was just blown out of proportion,” Machado told The Baltimore Sun’s Jon Meoli. “I’m always going to back [Judge] up. He’s a great kid and has a bright future ahead of him.”
Prior to New York’s 7-4 loss to the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla. on Wednesday, the defending American League Rookie of the Year told reporters that he spoke with Machado, mentioning that the soon-to-be free agent would ‘look pretty good in pinstripes’ next season.
“To add [Machado] to our lineup that we’ve already got … it would be something special,” Judge told NJ.com. “He’s one heck of a player. He’s been doing it quite a few years at the best level. He’s one of the best, if not the best, defensive third basemen. Now he’s probably going to be one of the best defensive shortstops.
“And what he brings in the offensive side of it, he’s the complete package. So he’s going to be a happy man when it comes to free agency wherever he wants to go.”
Later that day, Major League Baseball reached out to the Yankees about Judge’s accidental pitch, and Brian Cashman spoke to the second-year outfielder in a 30-second phone call, according to the New York Daily News.
“I reached out to Aaron to make sure he got the full perspective, obviously clearly from Baltimore’s perspective as well,” Cashman said. “There’s certainly no intentions on creating any difficulties for everybody. I made sure Aaron understood the commissioner’s perspective on it. He does.”
Although the league was sensitive to the subject matter, Machado wasn’t. The three-time All-Star, who’s expected to receive a contract worth more than $300 million next offseason, told The Baltimore Sun that Judge “always means well” and that these conversations are a regular occurrence between players on different teams.
“Everyone always jokes around about a lot of things, and things that we say on the field usually stay on the field,” Machado said. “I’ve told a lot of people they’d look good in black and orange as well, trying to get guys over here. It’s just part of the game. You want to put the best team out there on your field and if I’m a part of this team, I want to bring the best guys over here as much as I can. I want to get a ring as well.”
The Yankees’ first regular season series with Baltimore is scheduled for April 5-8 at Yankee Stadium, where Machado has hit .280 with six homers and 15 RBI in 161 career at-bats (41 games).