Aaron Judge is resigned to being an intrigued observer when the ball he struck for a record-breaking 62nd home run goes up for auction – declaring he cannot afford to join the bidding race.

The 30-year-old set a single-season Yankees and AL home-run record by reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961.

Judge became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season, and his feat belongs in baseball legend, making the ball that saw him set the record on October 4 especially valuable.

It occurred at the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, with the spectator at Globe Life Field that caught the ball striking lucky by guaranteeing himself an apparent fortune.

According to ESPN, that man, Cory Youmans, decided to put the ball in the hands of Goldin Auctions "after weeks of a lot of deep conversations" with his wife and lawyer.

Youmans said: "It seems fair in the sense it gives anyone that is interested and has the means the opportunity to own it. As a fan, I'm curious to see what it's worth, who buys it and what they do with it."

Youmans is said to have already turned down $3million for the ball, with his lawyer, Dave Baron, suspecting the final selling price could be "significantly higher based on New York, the New York fan base and how crazy it could get at an auction".

That rules Judge out of contention, as he said the ball is "out of my price range right now".

The ball is listed with a starting bid of $1million, with the auction due to get under way on November 30.

Judge said of the seller's choice: "He caught the ball, he's the one that made the play out there in left field, so it's his right to do what he wants with it. Hopefully he's making the right decision for him and his family.''

The ball's value will not have been harmed by Judge winning the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

Aaron Judge has capped his historic season after being crowned the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

St Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt was also voted the NL MVP, beating out Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres and teammate Nolan Arenado for the award.

Judge's MVP, the first in his career, came after he broke the single-season Yankees and AL home-run record, reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961. He became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season.

The Yankees outfielder led the AL in home runs (62), RBIs (131), slugging percentage (.686), on-base percentage (.425), OPS (1.111) and total bases (391), while he chased an AL Triple Crown down the stretch, but ultimately fell short as Minnesota Twins' utility Luis Arraez (.316) won the batting title.

Judge received 28 first-place votes for 410 points, ahead of Ohtani (280) and Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez (232).

The 30-year-old already had two top-five MVP finishes on his resume, in 2017 and 2021, winning Silver Slugger awards in both years.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said: "I’m grateful that I got to witness it first-hand and share in his magical year, especially given how much respect I have for him as a player and as a person."

Goldschmidt looked like the NL MVP since the All-Star break, batting .317 while leading the NL in OPS (.982) and slugging percentage (.578).

The Cardinals first baseman's 35 home runs finished one off his career-high, set in 2013 and equalled in 2017, giving him his seventh season with at least 30 dingers.

Goldschmidt won the MVP with 380 voting points, ahead of Machado (291) and Arenado (232). It is the sixth time in 35-year-old Goldschmidt's career that he has finished in the top-six for the award.

"I think definitely as you age, you have to adapt, and that's some of what I've tried to do. I've tried to get ahead of it," Goldschmidt told MLB Network. "I think it was my best season."

New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge collected the first of many individual awards set to come his way when he was named winner of the American League's Hank Aaron Award.

Paul Goldschmidt of the St Louis Cardinals was named the National League winner of the award, which honours the player in each league who had the best offensive season.

Judge, 30, enjoyed the best year of his career as he broke the single-season Yankees and American League home run record, reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris' 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961.

Making his fourth All-Star game, Judge also set career-highs in batting average (.311), slugging percentage (.686) and on-base percentage (.425) – leading the majors in the latter two metrics.

With two top-five MVP finishes on his resume already – in 2017 and 2021, winning Silver Slugger awards in both years – Judge is considered a lock to top the votes and claim his first this time around.

Meanwhile, Goldschmidt has looked like the NL MVP since the All-Star break, and was rewarded with his second Hank Aaron Award after also winning it back in 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Goldschmidt, 35, is set for his sixth top-six finish in MVP voting, batting .317 while leading the NL in on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) at .981.

His 35 home runs finished one off his career-high, set in 2013 and equalled in 2017, giving him his seventh season with at least 30 dingers.

Goldschmidt has two years remaining on his contract with the Cardinals, while Judge is set to enter free agency for the first time in his career.

Brian Cashman strayed away from confirming whether the New York Yankees have held contract talks with Aaron Judge.

Star slugger Judge opted to enter free agency, turning down a seven-year contract with the Yankees before the season started.

His stock has risen since then, with Judge having scored a record-breaking 62 home runs in the regular season and racked up 131 RBIs.

Yankees general manager Cashman on Friday gave little away when asked about the possibility of Judge returning next season.

"When you make these commitments on players, you know he's a fan favourite," Cashman said during a press conference.

"He interacts with our fans extremely well. He's respected within that clubhouse, handles his business as good as you possibly can. He's an elite performer – among the game's best, if not the best player. With all that being said, those are the types of players you want to retain and have as long as you possibly can."

Cashman added: "As George Steinbrenner [the former Yankees owner] said, he puts fannies in the seats. People want to go watch that guy play, and you want to put great teams on the field that they want to come here to watch compete and win.

"Certain individual players transcend the team and everything stops when they're at the bat or they have the ball in their hand. He's one of those types of talents."

Cashman, whose future is also unclear after his contract expired, has no issue with Judge biding his time.

"[Judge is] going to dictate the dance steps to his free agency and he has worked extremely hard to earn this position, so we'll see how this plays out," Cashman said. "It can tie you up a little bit along the way, but he's not the only guy that we're needing to deal with.

"He's the most important, but if he came in here today and said, 'Oh, man, I'm signing up, let's go,' there's still a lot of work to be done."

Aaron Boone spoke to Judge in his office after the Yankees missed out on the World Series when they were subjected to a clean sweep by the Houston Astros.

The Yankees boss reiterated that he hopes Judge will be back to lead the team.

He said: "Of course I hope he's back and a Yankee forever. I can't think of a better guy that you want to be leading your team and leading your organisation, and hopefully that all works out.

"But my conversations with him now are just communicating with him through the winter and hoping that it works out. But obviously, that's above me."

Aaron Boone's future as the New York Yankees manager appears assured with owner Hal Steinbenner stating he does not see a need for change.

The Yankees' long wait to reach their first World Series since 2009 extended after their clean sweep ALCS defeat to the Houston Astros concluded their season on Sunday, having gone 99-63 across the regular season.

Boone has been Yankees manager since succeeding Joe Girardi in December 2017, losing twice in the ALCS and twice in the ALDS during his tenure along with a disappointing Wild Card exit last year.

Despite the Yankees' Wild Card exit in 2021, Boone signed a three-year contract in October with the club option for 2025.

"As far as Boone's concerned, we just signed him and for all the same reasons I listed a year ago, I believe he is a very good manager," Steinbrenner told reporters on Wednesday. "I don't see a change there."

The Yankees' 2022 season promised much more, having started 61-23 with Aaron Judge in MVP form before injuries impacted their run home, losing D.J. LeMahieu (toe) and Andrew Benintendi (wrist).

Boone's side went 38-40 to end the regular season after their bright start, before a hard-fought 3-2 ALDS win over the Cleveland Guardians and their sweep defeat to the Astros.

"We didn't get the job done... it's time to get it done," Steinbrenner said. "Any time we don't win a championship, it's a disappointing year.

"We had a lot of good ups, we had some downs, we had some injuries like everybody else."

Judge's future at the Yankees remains a hot topic after his record-breaking 62-homer regular season but Steinbrenner would not be drawn on his status.

The outfielder turned down a seven-year contract prior to the season starting, meaning he is eligible for free agency after the World Series.

"We haven't talked about anything yet," Steinbrenner said. "Cash [general manager Brian Cashman] and I had some preliminary conversions."

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone says being subjected to a clean sweep by the Houston Astros "stings" after they suffered an "awful ending" to their season.

The Astros will face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series after beating the Yankees 6-5 to win the American League on Sunday.

Houston remain unbeaten in the MLB postseason, having seen off the Yankees 4-0 to pile the pressure on Boone.

The Yankees were missing DJ LeMahieu due to a toe injury and Andrew Benintendi, who is recovering from wrist surgery.

Boone reflected on a painful conclusion to the campaign and was left to rue the absence of key men.

"It's an awful day, just an awful ending. It stings. It hurts," Boone said. "Obviously we had some key contributors missing that I think would have been difference-makers for us potentially."

Aaron Judge may have played his last game for the Yankees, having turned down a seven-year contract to stay eligible for free agency.

Judge failed to deliver in the postseason, but Boone defended the outfielder.

He said: "It's baseball, man. I mean, it happens all the time where the greatest of greats go through a struggle. It's a game of failure. You’re going to have some ups and downs."

The Astros and the Phillies start the World Series at Minute Maid Park on Friday.

The Houston Astros advanced to their fourth World Series in six years after completing an ALCS sweep of the New York Yankees with a 6-5 victory at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

Alex Bregman delivered the go-ahead RBI in the seventh inning before Ryan Pressly closed it out for the Astros, who improved to 7-0 this postseason having already swept the Seattle Mariners.

Houston are only the third team to have swept both the Divisional and Championship Series in MLB history, following the Colorado Rockies (2007) and Kansas City Royals (2014) whom both lost in the World Series. The Astros will face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, after they completed a 4-1 NLCS triumph earlier on Sunday.

The Astros rallied from a 3-0 deficit after two innings, with Jeremy Pena's three-run blast over left field leading their four-run third-inning rally.

The Yankees regained their lead with Harrison Bader's two-out solo homer in the sixth inning - his fifth blast of the postseason - only for Houston to rally again with a two-run seventh from Yordan Alvarez's RBI single followed by Bregman's go-ahead RBI, with a shot into right-center field to drive in Pena.

It marked the fourth time the Yankees, who had a 99-win regular season, have been swept in a best-of-seven series in franchise history.

The Astros' pitching staff were pivotal again, as they have been all postseason, with starter Lance McCullers Jr having six strikeouts across five innings, while the bullpen was stingy.

Second baseman Jose Altuve, who had not had a postseason hit until Game 3, re-discovered some touch with two hits and a walk, scoring two runs.

Astros manager Dusty Baker has the chance to end his record of most games managed without winning the World Series.

The Philadelphia Phillies are one win away from the World Series after tying a franchise record for their largest comeback in postseason history with a 10-6 Game 4 win over the San Diego Padres in the NLCS on Saturday.

The Padres raced ahead 4-0 in the first inning, but the Phillies responded to square the game by the fourth inning, before pulling away thanks to four home runs at Citizens Bank Park to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Rhys Hoskins played a key role in the comeback, blasting two two-run homers, the second tying the game up at 6-6 in the fifth inning, before a go-ahead single from Bryce Harper, who went two-for-four with two RBIs.

Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto both launched solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings to add insurance.

The Padres were two out in the first inning before Manny Machado led their early charge with a solo blast followed by Brandon Drury's two-run double and Kim Ha-seong's RBI.

Hoskins commenced an immediate response with his third home run of the postseason, before Harper's RBI cut the margin to one after the first inning.

Phillies shortstop Bryson Stott's base hit to left squared it up at 4-4 in the fourth inning before Juan Soto launched his first postseason homer, a two-run shot, to open up a 6-4 Padres' lead.

Hoskins blasted Sean Manaea over left-center field to tie it up, before Harper drove Realmuto home to take the lead.

The Phillies host the Padres again on Sunday, knowing only 14 of 91 teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit in a League Championship Series or a World Series to win.

Astros open up 3-0 lead with Yankees domination

The Houston Astros are also on the brink of clinching their fourth World Series berth in six seasons after a dominant 5-0 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

The Astros' pitching staff did the damage, with starter Cristian Javier allowing only one hit with five strikeouts across five-and-one-third innings. Javier had led the Astros' combined no-hitter at Yankee Stadium earlier this season in June.

The victory improved the Astros' postseason record to 6-0, having swept the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS, while it was their second shutout of the postseason too.

Chas McCormick blasted a two-run homer in the second inning after Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge's outfield mix-up allowed Christian Vazquez on base from a sky-high pop-out with two out.

The Astros loaded the bases in the fifth inning, leading to Gerrit Cole's removal despite seven K's, before Trey Mancini's sacrifice fly and Vazquez's two-run single from reliever Lou Trivino to capitalise.

Astros catcher Vazquez's brilliant game included a spectacular throw to second base to out Bader when trying to steal with the game poised at 2-0 at the top of the fifth inning.

Gerrit Cole was surprised by manager Aaron Boone's decision to pull him out of Game 3 in the sixth inning before the New York Yankees lost 5-0 to the Houston Astros to trail 3-0 in the best-of-seven ALCS.

The Astros maintained their unbeaten postseason record, moving within one victory of the World Series with Saturday's triumph at Yankee Stadium.

Cole, who has been outstanding all postseason and had seven strikeouts on Saturday, was abruptly retired from the game by Boone, who entered the field twice in the sixth inning, forcing the starting pitcher's removal under MLB rules.

The Yankees had held a mound visit after Cole walked Kyle Tucker, before Boone walked out again after Yuli Gurriel's subsequent single had put runners at every base.

Cole, who had given up a two-run homer to Chas McCormick in the second inning after a fielding error from Harrison Bader that should have closed that inning, had got the Yankees into the jam but did not look pleased with Boone's decision.

Reliever Lou Trivino could not rescue the situation either, giving up two hits and three runs in the inning with a Trey Mancini sacrifice fly followed by Christian Vazquez's two-run single which blew out the margin.

"I feel like as a pitcher like myself, I'm probably mostly surprised," Cole told reporters. "I always want to keep going. I was not ready to come out but to my knowledge, the second trip is what it is."

Boone admitted he felt Cole had pitched well when he moved to explain the early decision.

"Part of the deliberation was because I thought Gerrit threw the ball so well today, but I decided I wanted to go to Trivi," Boone said. "We were down a couple and can't really let any more. Just hoping for some weak contact or a ball on the ground."

The defeat leaves the Yankees staring down an ALCS sweep, with the Astros claiming their second shutout of the postseason, underlining their dominance.

The Yankees' offense struggled again, only managing one hit until two belated ninth-inning base hits from Matt Carpenter and Bader.

Across 27 innings in the ALCS, Boone's side have had 12 hits, four runs with only two earned and 41 strikeouts. Aaron Judge, who homered an AL record 62 times in the regular season, went none-for-four on Saturday.

"We need to get something from him, but that said, to win these games you need a little something from everyone," Boone said.

"They're really good. Obviously, it starts with their pitching. Their starters are able to run out there coupled with a couple of really good arms out of the bullpen. If you're not executing at a high level, these things can happen when you're up against a great pitching staff."

The 2004 Boston Red Sox are the only team in MLB history to come back and win a series from a 3-0 deficit.

Astros manager Dusty Baker added: "I don’t know if dominant is the word. All of them were close, except tonight… The Yankees are always dangerous, especially here in New York, so we've got an opportunity to close it out and win tomorrow, so we've got to take every opportunity to try and do that."

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone claims the roof being open at Minute Maid Park cost his side in Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Aaron Judge missed out marginally on a go-ahead home run when his right-field shot was caught on the fence by a leaping Kyle Tucker in the eighth inning.

Statcast showed that shot would have landed in the stands at Yankee Stadium, but Boone said the wind from the open air at Minute Maid Park hindered Judge's chances.

"I think the roof open kind of killed us," Boone later reporters. "I think it's a 390 [foot] ball. I think it was like 106 [exit velocity] or whatever.

"I think Judge is a homer all the time. The wind was blowing across like that. I didn't think like he smoked it like no-doubter, but it felt like his homers to right."

The Yankees only managed four hits for the game and had 13 batters strike out with the Astros victory giving them a 2-0 series lead.

Boone, who is under some pressure, remained bullish his side could get back into the ALCS ahead of three home games, as they bid to make the World Series for the first time since 2009.

"We've just got to go home and get one," he said. "It starts with that."

The Yankees, who lost 4-2 in Game 1 in Houston, have managed only nine hits across the two games, while having 30 batters struck out.

"Both these games we were in," Boone said. "We've just got to find a way to do a little bit more offensively.

"We feel we can go out there and limit them enough, a very good offense and give us a chance.

"Certainly feel there's no one better than Gerrit [Cole] to hand the ball to, to get us right back in this."

The Astros, who are aiming to reach the World Series for the fourth time in six seasons, have a 5-0 postseason record after sweeping the Seattle Mariners. Three of the Astros' postseason wins have been by one run, while the other two have been by two runs.

Alex Bregman and Framber Valdez played the lead roles as the Houston Astros opened up a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven ALCS with a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Thursday.

Bregman's three-run homer over left field opened up a 3-0 third-inning lead, with the Astros pitchers putting on a show to keep the Yankees at bay.

Valdez pitched across seven innings, with nine strikeouts, allowing only four hits, although his fielding error led to both of the Yankees' runs in the fourth inning.

Bryan Abreu ended the eighth inning with back-to-back 99mph fastballs to strike out Giancarlo Stanton after a 3-1 count.

Ryan Pressly got the save in the ninth, his third of this postseason, despite walking Josh Donaldson, striking out three batters including Matt Carpenter for the win as he tried to check his swing.

The Astros were great on defense, with third baseman Bregman knocking down a Gleyber Torres grounder straight to shortstop Jeremy Pena, who threw to first base to close the sixth inning.

In the eighth, outfielder Kyle Tucker plucked a great catch on the wall from Aaron Judge's right-field shot which fell inches short of a go-ahead home run with a runner on first.

Judge and Stanton had plated in the fourth, after Valdez fumbled the latter's grounder back to the mound before throwing wildly to first base, allowing both to third and second base respectively. Anthony Rizzo and Torres got the RBIs.

The third-inning blast from Bregman, who went two-for-four, means he has the most postseason home runs for a third baseman ever in the majors.

The San Diego Padres produced a stunning comeback on the road to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 in Game 2 of the NLCS on Wednesday.

San Diego were staring down the barrel of a two-game deficit when Alec Bohm, Matt Vierling, Edmundo Sosa and Kyle Schwarber drove home a run each to jump ahead 4-0 in the second inning.

The Padres would get two runs back in the bottom of the second, courtesy of solo home runs to Brandon Drury and Josh Bell, and to manager Bob Melvin's credit, he stuck with starting pitcher Blake Snell despite his rough start, and he was able to pitch three scoreless innings to set up the comeback.

Trailing 4-2 in the fifth inning, the Padres rattled off five runs, with Bell and Drury again delivering, as well as young star Juan Soto and catcher Austin Nola, who got his hit off his brother, Aaron Nola, who started on the mound for the Phillies.

Manny Machado put on the finishing touches with a 424-foot bomb in the seventh inning, before closer Josh Hader came in to put the Phillies away.

By striking out all three batters he faced – after doing the same in his last outing, and striking out his last two batters the time before that – he became the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out eight consecutive batters in the postseason.

Game 3 and Game 4 will both be played in San Diego, before heading back to Philadelphia for Game 5 in the best-of-seven series.

Verlander dices up the Yankees in Game 1

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander showed why he is the heavy favourite to take home the American League Cy Young Award, pitching six dominant innings in his side's 4-2 win against the New York Yankees in Game 1.

Verlander struck out 11 batters while only allowing one run from three hits and a walk, with that one run coming from a Harrison Bader solo homer in the second inning to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Bader did not hit a home run for the Yankees in the regular season after being acquired at the deadline, but now has four in his past six playoff games.

Their lead was short-lived as Martin Maldonado tied things up with an RBI double later in the second inning, before the Astros hit three solo home runs to jump out to a commanding lead.

Lourdes Gurriel and Chas McCormick went deep in the sixth inning, before rookie Jeremy Pena hit his fourth homer of the postseason to extend the lead to 4-1 in the seventh.

Anthony Rizzo would connect on a consolation home run in the eight inning, but Astros closer Ryan Pressly was up for the task, coming in to collect a four-out save with three strikeouts.

Game 2 will remain in Houston, before the series heads to New York for Game 3 and Game 4.

The New York Yankees are moving on to the American League Championship Series, but the 2022 season is over for outfielder Aaron Hicks.  

Playing left field, Hicks collided with shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera in the third inning of the Yankees’ victory in Game 5 of the League Division Series on Tuesday.  

Hicks exited the game with a left knee injury and told reporters afterward that MRI results showed a significant enough injury to end his season.  

"Extremely disappointing," Hicks told reporters. "[This season] is obviously something special and I want to be a part of it. And now I'm no longer going to be able to play on the field to help this team win, help this team win a World Series and now I just gotta watch on the sidelines."

Powered by home runs from Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, the Yankees beat the Guardians in Tuesday’s decisive Game 5 and advance to a showdown against the Houston Astros in the ALCS.  

The Yankees have not said who will take Hicks’ place on the ALCS roster but hope that versatile infielder D.J. LeMahieu has recovered enough from his right foot injury to return.  

Hicks was replaced in left field Tuesday by utility Marwin Gonzalez, while Matt Carpenter made a pinch-hit appearance, taking his first swings since missing the end of the regular season with a fractured foot.  

Tim Locastro played 26 games in the Yankees' outfield this season but projects more as a defensive replacement and pinch runner after hitting .186 this season.  

New York face a quick turnaround, with Game 1 of the ALCS scheduled for Wednesday night in Houston.  

The New York Yankees are through to the ALCS for the third time in the past six seasons after defeating the Cleveland Guardians 5-1 in the win-or-go-home Game 5 of the ALDS on Tuesday.

New York's Jameson Taillon and Cleveland's Aaron Civale were the scheduled starters on Monday, but with the game being rained out, the extra day of rest allowed the Yankees to hand Nestor Cortes the start, while the Guardians stuck with Civale.

Civale was only able to get one out before his night was over, after a walk and a hit-by-pitch set up Giancarlo Stanton for a three-run home run in the first inning.

An inning later, likely AL MVP Aaron Judge also blasted a home run to extend the Yankees' lead to 4-0.

Cortes ended up pitching beautifully on short rest, making his way through five innings in 61 pitches, conceding one run from three hits and one walk.

Jonathan Loaisiga, Clay Holmes and Wandy Peralta combined out of the Yankees' bullpen to hold the Guardians scoreless for the last four frames, with Anthony Rizzo driving home one more insurance run in the fifth inning.

Judge finished the game two-for-four as the only Yankee with multiple hits, and for Stanton, his big home run salvaged a series where he had only one hit from his other 15 plate appearances.

The Yankees will meet the Houston Astros in the ALCS, which kicks off on Wednesday. The Astros were the Yankees' opponents in both of their other ALCS appearances in the past six years, with the Astros winning both times.

Game 5 of the ALDS series between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians has been pushed back to Tuesday after the scheduled fixture on Monday was rained out.

The teams are tied at 2-2 through four games after Gerrit Cole pitched seven innings with eight strikeouts to help the Yankees extend the series with a 4-2 win in Sunday's Game 4.

For the Yankees, Jameson Taillon was scheduled to start in the series decider, while Aaron Civale was set to take the hill for the Guardians. It is not yet known if the extra day of rest will impact the decision on the game's starters.

The winner of Game 5 will play the Houston Astros in the ALCS, with Game 1 scheduled for Wednesday.

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