The first ball cleared the stadium, went not just beyond the left-field wall at George M. Steinbrenner Field, but beyond the second fence. Yet, it was not until two innings later that Giancarlo Stanton really hit an impressive homer.
Stanton did not get Victor Arano’s fifth-inning pitch off the sweet spot Friday night. It was far enough to the end that the bat cracked.
“Everyone else is ‘Oh my gosh’ and Stanton is looking down at the broken bat,” Yankees bench coach Josh Bard said.
The two-run homer hit a recessed advertising sign about 15 feet above the left-field fence. Again, Stanton did this breaking his bat.
“The home run when he broke the bat and he stood on it because he knew he hit it out — that is superhero stuff,” Bard said. Hitting coach Marcus Thames marveled: “He’s a special human.”
Something to consider as Opening Day nears: The Yankees won 100 games and hit a record 267 homers with Aaron Judge missing seven second-half weeks after incurring a chip fracture in his wrist, and with Stanton never fully comfortable in his first New York season and hobbled over the final few months by a hamstring injury that he played through, in part, because Judge was absent.
“This guy posted last year when a lot of guys wouldn’t have,” Bard said. “The respect he has in this room is astronomical. For a guy who has got a $300 million contract [$325 million], this is a guy who wants to win. You can see it with his actions.”