Yankees’ superstar slugger defends Trent Grisham following ‘We want Soto’ chants

Jun 9, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the New York Yankees voiced their feelings about Juan Soto’s absence during a crucial at-bat in the sixth inning of their 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday night. With backup outfielder Trent Grisham at the plate with runners at the corners and one out with the Yankees trailing 3-2, the Yankee Stadium crowd started a “We want Soto” chant, evidently expressing their desire for Grisham to be substituted for the superstar Soto in a key moment of the ball game.

Grisham would silence those chants just moments later, crushing a fastball from Dodgers starter Tyler Glasnow into the right field seats to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead, which would prove to be the difference in the game.

Aaron Judge wasn’t a fan of the Soto chants from Yankees fans

Jun 9, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Trent Grisham (12) celebrates his three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers with right fielder Aaron Judge (99) during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Trent Grisham (12) celebrates his three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers with right fielder Aaron Judge (99) during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees captain and superstar outfielder Aaron Judge, who was 3-for-4 with a solo home run Sunday night, came to the defense of his teammate in Grisham. The struggling backup started all three games of their series against the Dodgers while Soto dealt with forearm inflammation.

“Grisham works his butt off every single day. Soto is out right now, he’s going to be back soon and he’s been carrying this team all year. Anytime you go up against teams like this, fans pay to come see us do our thing. They want to see the best out there,” Judge said to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch after Sunday’s game. “Soto is going to heal up fine, but [Grisham] is a heck of a ballplayer and he showed it tonight in a big moment when we needed him. I wasn’t too happy with it, but I think he made a good point; he got his point across with that homer.”

The Yankee Stadium faithful would show a change of heart immediately following Grisham’s three-run blast, as a “We want Grisham” chant broke out during his final at-bat in the eighth inning. Grisham would work a walk in that plate appearance.

Trent Grisham made the most of an opportunity despite brutally struggling throughout the season

Jun 9, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Trent Grisham (12) tosses his bat after hitting a three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Trent Grisham (12) tosses his bat after hitting a three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This series was the most action Grisham had gotten all season long, as he has generally been used for defensive purposes and would only be inserted in the starting lineup occasionally. He has made an appearance in only 25 of the Yankees’ 66 games so far and has just 63 plate appearances on the season. The start of his Yankees tenure hasn’t been largely successful when he does get a chance to hit, as he is hitting just .100 (5-for-50) with an OPS of .538.

The home run he hit Sunday night was without a doubt the biggest swing of his season up to this point and was one that the Yankees needed as well with Soto on the shelf. The blast was the key reason how the Yankees were able to avoid being swept in a series for the first time this season and maintain a 2.5-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East.

Grisham also spoke to reporters after Sunday’s win, stating that he heard the Soto chants from the crowd during his sixth-inning at-bat. He added that the reception from the fans didn’t phase him and that the purpose was not to make a point to them.

“It wasn’t about that,” Grisham said to reporters (h/t SNY). “I was just happy that I was able to stay present in the moment, worry about myself, and ended up with a good swing on it.”

While Soto is expected to return to the lineup for their upcoming series against the surprising Kansas City Royals, the Yankees can feel pretty good about how Grisham stepped up in a crucial moment for them while missing their superstar.

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