Juan Soto has first multihomer game with Yankees

Juan Soto has first multihomer game with Yankees
Juan Soto has first multihomer game with Yankees

NEW YORK — The Yankees hope to keep Juan Soto in pinstripes for a very long time. And with performances like the one he enjoyed on Saturday afternoon, it’s not difficult to understand why.

Soto busted out of a mini-slump with his first multi-homer performance as a Yankee, reaching base in all five trips to the plate as the Yankees won their sixth consecutive game, 6-1 over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.

“It was a fun day,” Soto said. “I was definitely working on my swing, trying to find that feeling again where I was hitting the ball in the first month, getting that feeling back and getting that confidence back.”

Mission accomplished. Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Trevino also homered to support right-hander Luis Gil’s record-setting 14-strikeout performance, as the Bombers have won 12 of 14 contests to improve to an American League-best 32-15.

“It’s a really confident group right now,” manager Aaron Boone said. “It is really good to see them doing it in all ways.”

Soto’s bat had cooled in his previous eight games, with just four hits to show for 31 at-bats (.129). But Boone said that he picked up encouraging signs from the 25-year-old superstar.

“I could just see his body language, really locked in today,” Boone said. “It’s just one of those days that Juan is capable of.”

Soto’s first at-bat produced a Statcast-projected 417-foot homer into the right-field bleachers off right-hander Brad Keller. Soto singled home a run in the second inning, then went deep again off Keller in the fifth, flipping his bat before admiring a Statcast-projected 437-foot shot deposited a few rows further up in Section 204.

In his final two plate appearances of the afternoon, Soto walked and singled. Boone downplayed the effect that a pre-series, onfield workout might have had for Soto, noting, “I’m sure there were little, finite adjustments that he wanted to make.” But the results speak volumes.

“You’ve got to put in the work,” Soto said. “I’ve been working on my swing, working with my hitting coaches, watching videos — trying everything that we could to get that feeling back. “I think we are in a good spot.”

It was the 18th career multihomer game for Soto, who is batting .317 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs in 47 games.

Soto joined Aaron Judge (12) and Stanton (11) as Yankees with double-digit home run totals. New York is the Majors’ only team in 2024 to have three players with 10 or more homers.

“It just tells you about how much damage we can do,” Soto said.

The performance underlines Soto’s best sales pitch after a week in which managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said he is open to discussing an in-season extension with Soto, who was acquired from the Padres in December and is eligible for free agency after the season.

“I think we’d like to see him here for the rest of his career; I don’t think there’s any doubt of that,” Steinbrenner told the YES Network.

Soto has said that his door is “always open” to discussing a new contract, adding that he would leave all negotiations to his agent, Scott Boras. Typically, Boras prefers to lead his clients to the open market, which seems likely in this case — especially considering that Soto already turned down a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Nationals in 2022.

Yet Soto has also seemed to love every aspect of his first six weeks as a Yankee, which general manager Brian Cashman has called “a seamless transition.”

Soto forged bonds within the clubhouse quickly, while the fans engage in lovefests each night behind him in the outfield. Soto has even become a regular at Madison Square Garden, cheering on the Knicks and Rangers in their playoff pursuits.

“It feels,” Cashman said recently, “like he’s been here a long time.”

Indeed, if a more ideal fit exists elsewhere for Soto, it isn’t easy to imagine what that would look like.

“I give a lot of credit to my teammates. They’ve been right there, having fun with me,” Soto said. “I’m more than excited to keep doing that. This past month and a half has been unbelievable. The fan base, teammates, everything has been going in a good way.”

 
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