As New York Yankee fans await the start of baseball, today, New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone held a conference call with the media about the start of summer camp 2020. For EmpireSportsMedia.com, I was in on the call and took notes on a variety of subjects.
An overriding subject that was constantly talked about, Boone responded to many questions asked in different ways about how his players have prepared for the season and how they will be ramped up for the season when it starts on July 23rd.
Aaron Boone continually emphasized that he will be careful in getting players to move forward. He stated that
“you can get into a lot of trouble forcing guys, pushing them early on when they are not ready to go. An injury early on could mean missing a quarter, half, or even all of the season because you pushed them too hard at the start.” He continued “if we are healthy we are going to lean on our depth and hopefully build guys up properly so that we are not sacrificing any game early on, but are giving ourselves the best opportunity to be one of the best teams over the 60 game stretch.”
At one point, he was asked what it was like to be away from the game for so long.Â He responded that it was different. He mentioned that he spent some time with Gerrit Cole, who lives nearby in Greenwich, CT. He said it was an opportunity that he wouldn’t have had otherwise, to watch the seasons change, see the trees fill out, and spend time with family.Â He mentioned the joy of planning meals and cooking with his wife.Â He also said how difficult it would be for his daughter not to be able to come to the Stadium and watch games.
He was asked about his New York Yankees starting pitchers and if he was able to stay in touch with them and how he thought they had prepared for the eventual season.Â He stated that he had been in regular contact with most of them and especially with Gerrit Cole, who has been “working his tail off.”Â Boone feels his pitchers are in a good place and that he will watch them carefully as summer camp starts this Saturday.Â He specifically mentioned that he had less contact with Masahiro Tanaka than with the other players as he left camp immediately when it was shut down and went home to Japan. He did say that Tanaka is a veteran and knows how to prepare. He mentioned that Tanaka was at the Stadium and had undergone his intake testing.
One question was if Boone had considered a six-man pitching rotation or even a four-man.Â Boone reiterated that he had not thought about it, but that everything is fluid when you’re dealing with a short season. “we will be creative as we need be, those calls will be made at the beginning of the season or on the fly as needed.”
He was asked if he personally had any hesitation coming back to baseball, considering his health issues. He answered “no hesitation healthwise
I’m in a good place; the family is healthy, I have no fear I’m excited to play
smartly and as safely as possible.”
He was questioned about how and what he would say to the players during the first team meeting.Â “We have a responsibility for each other
in being safe at the field and off the field. We’re a hungry group, and we want to rise to the top of the mountain, we want to be champions..find that energy the edge on a daily basis.”
During the conference call, there was little mention of any of the individual players, with the exception of Miguel Andujar.Â Boone stated that he was comfortable with Andujar playing in both corners of the outfield and even at third base. He continued that he still had to grow into the positions, but the more he does, the more opportunity he will have to play ball.
When queried about the Yankee 30 man roster, Boone said it gives us flexibility early on in using pinch hitters and even going to the bullpen early.Â ” With a more flexible bench that are some things you can do in the middle of the game or during the game that last year with a 25 man roster you wouldn’t necessarily do. We will try and be creative there and be smart about effectively using our roster whether it be the 30 or when it goes to 28 and 26.”
A question that I thought would never come up in the 50-minute call as if he was concerned that the season might not be completed.Â Boone said that he doesn’t think about that much. He stated that anything was possible, but my job is to focus on getting ready to play on a championship level,
that’s the focus and goal. We are in this to win it, to get to a World Championship. If circumstances change, that is out of my control; I don’t spend time thinking about that.
Overall, Boone was upbeat on the season that will definitely present challenges for the Yankees but he believes his players are in a good place both emotionally and physically. He stated that whether it’s a 162 game season or a 60 game season, the approach is the same. We are totally focused on winning and getting to a World Championship.
We have a video of New York Yankee players arriving today at Yankee Stadium in another EmpireSportsMedia.com article, see the video here.