Lift less, play more?

Yankees behemoths Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have “dramatically” altered their usual offseason workouts after years of difficulty staying out of the trainer’s room, according to the team’s director of player health and performance.

“In both cases, they lifted less than they have in the past,” Eric Cressey said while talking to Meredith Marakovits on “Yankees Hot Stove” on the YES Network on Thursday night. “Aaron, in particular, has really taken a heavy interest in a lot of yoga.”

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Judge has played in just 63% (242 of 384) of the Yankees’ regular season games since 2017, when he played in 155 games. Meanwhile, Stanton played 158 regular season games when he joined the team in 2018, but has participated in only 18.4% (42 of 222) since then.

They’re two of the game’s most powerful hitters. At 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds, Judge led the American League in home runs with 52 in 2017. Stanton (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) crushed an MLB-high 59 bombs that same season.

But many have speculated that their musclebound frames might be better suited for the NFL or NBA, not baseball.

Cressey said they’re working hard to change that perception.

“Those are guys that I think the world of,” the trainer said. “They’re amazing workers. The first thing you have to say is, any time you see an athlete like that … there’s a perception they’re not working hard. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Those guys are rock stars in every aspect of their preparation.”

Cressey said bigger players face different issues than the average major-leaguer.

“You also need to be mindful of the stressors that are on guys who are 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8, big dudes standing around for long periods of time in cleats,” he said. “Those are things that normal people don’t encounter. We’ve understood that their preparation needs to be markedly different in terms of not just building them up as athletes, but building them up as baseball players where there’s a gradual on-ramping of those specific stressors — running the bases, changing direction, swinging.”

He added, “Both of those guys are in good places.”

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Brendan Kuty may be reached at bkuty@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.



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