NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees chases down a hit by Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros during the third inning in game five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge isn’t having the easiest time putting the Astros’ cheating scandal behind him.

This past offseason, the Houston Astros learned their punishment for the sign-stealing they took part in during the 2017 and 2018 campaigns. Major League Baseball ultimately fined them $5 million (the maximum fine) and took away their first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Not to mention, MLB also suspended manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one year. The organization fired either individual after the penalty was announced.

Moving forward, this scandal isn’t just affecting Houston, who must face the music for their actions. The blatant disrespect for the game and the absence of integrity are personally affecting players from other teams. This includes New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who addressed the matter this week.

“I could sit up here and lie to you and say that I’ll forget about it and move on, but it’s always going to be in the back of your head a little bit,” Judge told reporters at spring training. “You’re always going to think about it. You’re always going to have that bad taste in your mouth thinking about it and hearing about it.

“But at some point we’re going to move on and move forward and continue to grow this game. That’s what I care about, is growing this game. That’s why the more we talk about [the scandal], the more I’m going to keep turning on ESPN and seeing sign-stealing stuff and cheating in baseball. So, the quicker we can get rolling, the better it would be for the game, and that’s all I really care about.”

The Astros’ cheating — specifically in 2017 — affected Judge in more ways than one. Not only did Houston defeat the Bombers in that year’s American League Championship Series, but Astros second baseman José Altuve also beat out Judge for the AL MVP Award. Judge hit 52 home runs that season, an MLB rookie record up until 2019.

The Yanks begin their spring training slate of games with a matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays this Saturday. First pitch will take place at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.