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Latest Yanks star arrives for spring training wearing T-shirt saying: ‘The generational Juan Soto’

 WBN  |    Feb 19th, 2024 12:57pm EST

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Juan Soto gave some new meaning to pride of the Yankees.

On his first day with his new team, the 25-year-old star outfielder walked into a news conference in the tent behind third base wearing a navy T-shirt with white print that proclaimed: “The generational Juan Soto.”

His prediction for his production in a lineup alongside 2022 AL MVP Aaron Judge was just as bold.

“It’s going to be two walks or it’s going to be two gappers,” Soto said Monday.

A three-time All-Star, Soto was acquired from San Diego on Dec. 6 along with outfielder Trent Grisham for four pitchers and catcher Kyle Higashioka. Soto hit .275 with 35 homers, 109 RBIs and a .930 OPS in his only full season with the Padres, leaving him with a .284 average, 160 homers, 483 RBIs and a .946 OPS in six major league seasons that included a 2019 World Series title with Washington.

Soto is eligible for free agency after the World Series, so it’s unclear whether he will becoming a longtime pinstriper like Lou Gehrig, subject of the 1942 movie “The Pride of the Yankees.”

Soto turned down a $440 million, 15-year offer from Washington before the Nationals dealt Soto to San Diego in August 2022, betting Soto would gain a better deal as a free agent after the 2024 season.

“You put the pressure on yourself,” Soto said, “and at the end of the day I just try to throw that away and go out there and play baseball, just try to show what I have and try my best.”

Born in the Dominican Republic, Soto looked forward to playing with the Yankees, who have a significant Latino fan base.

“It’s going to be electric,” he said. “It’s going to feel like home.”

Soto praised Robinson Canó, an eight-time All-Star second baseman who played for the Yankees from 2005-13 and was Soto’s Dominican teammate at last year’s World Baseball Classic.

“That’s the guy who I followed since I was a little kid and a guy I want to be like,” Soto said.

Soto has four homers in six career games and 23 at-bats in Yankee Stadium. He reminded himself not to let the ballpark impact his swing.

“Definitely don’t go crazy with a short porch in right field,” he said.

Soto is letting agent Scott Boras deal with contract talks. Most Boras clients in their prime wait until after becoming free agents to negotiate deals.

“I just let Scott do it,” Soto said. “He’s tough. I have a lot of trust in him and what he’s going to do.”


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB