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Welcome to New York, Juan Soto

Juan Soto, 2021 National League LatinoMVP award winner, is now officially a New York Yankee - Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

NEW YORK — Out of all of the responses Juan Soto provided to the media in his New York Yankees introductory press conference over Zoom on Tuesday afternoon — this was the one that stood out most — “Putting on this Yankee hat, it definitely fits different. But it’s going to be exciting to play in front of a lot of Dominican fans, a lot of fans from Latin America. It’s going to be exciting, and also the fans in New York. So very excited about it.”

Juan Soto in 2023 World Baseball Classic for Team Dominican Republic – Image Credit: Sports Illustrated

Soto, 25, a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, who is one of the most transcendent talents in the game, had much more to say throughout his 30-minute conversation with the press — provided below are more quotes with additional details. 

Regarding contract negotiations and his impending free agency: 

“My priority right now is just get to know the team, get to know the guys, really. For me, I’m going to the team — to New York, to Tampa — wherever I’m gonna meet those guys and try to get a good relationship and try to really stick together, get to know those guys and push and try to get the same goal as they want. That’s what my main thing is right now…

“About any contract stuff, they know where to call and who to talk to. I’m here just to play baseball and try to keep concentrated.”

Aaron Judge was the first Yankee to reach out to Soto following the trade, who else has done so: 

“A lot of them. I got messages from Gleyber Torres, Anthony Rizzo, Gerrit Cole. A lot of them, just telling me — they are really excited to have me on the team and they are looking forward to me being in spring training and get together and share ideas and everything — it’s going to be really fun. That means a lot for me, it was really special for them to reach out to me, and let me know how excited they are. So, I think it’s going to be really cool.”

Thoughts on sharing an outfield and lineup with Judge: 

“It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be really fun. I’m going to be more than excited to share the field with him. He seems like a great guy — he was one of the guys that reached out to me whenever I got traded. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun to see him play, hitting and playing the outfield. Try to pick his mind when I’m there, and try to enjoy the moment when I’m there.” 

Aaron Judge rounds the bases following a solo-blast against the Padres at Yankee Stadium in May of 2023. Judge was named the 2022 American League MVP and Roberto Clemente Award winner in 2023 – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Playing in Yankee Stadium and being comfortable with such positive results at-the-plate (four HR, nine RBI in seven career games in The Bronx): 

“It’s a great ballpark. It’s a great batters box. Not gonna lie, it feels great to stand out there. But yeah, it’s just the way it goes. It feels comfortable to be there. I get the chance to get really good pitches in the strike zone to do damage and I did it at the end of the day. It’s just the way it goes, I just try to do my job — try to concentrate, put the ball in play and it just happens now. I don’t even try to hit homers. I just try to hit low line drives to the middle, and it’s just the way it goes again.”

When asked about Jasson Domínguez: 

“I actually haven’t had the time to speak to Domínguez yet, but it’s clear to see the amount of talent that he has and everything that he can do moving forward. Unfortunately, injuries happen. It’s part of the game, and I’m here for that — to offer some advice and if he has any questions or anything that I can be helpful to him.”

Intended impact on offense for the Yankees and what would the perfect season look like: 

“In a perfect season, is winning a championship, that’s what I think. Definitely, just come over and try to play good ball. Try to do my job and try to help the team to win as much as we can. That’s my mindset. I’m going to be positive and bring energy everyday. I think that’s what I got to bring to the table…

Juan Soto is set to make his impact felt in The Bronx, and is excited for the opportunity to play in Yankee pinstripes – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“Everybody knows about the numbers and everything, but my main thing is just to bring the energy and give those guys a good vibe to support each other and try to win a championship.”

To read more on Soto’s 2021 National League LatinoMVP honorsJuan Soto receives 2021 National League LatinoMVP Award

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com

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