New York Yankees News roundup while Aaron Boone recovers

William Parlee

Some New York Yankee fans don’t pay attention to what goes on in spring training and don’t get engaged until the regular season games that count get started. But even those fans must have heard the shocking news the Yankees skipper Aaron Boone required surgery to have a pacemaker installed to keep his heart beating normally. Boone had the surgery late on Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

Reports are that the surgery was completed as expected and without complications. Reports were that Boone was resting comfortably. It was said he even chatted with the team from his hospital bed via Zoom. Boone had open heart surgery back in 2009, and because of that, he has been proactive about his health. During the past week, he said he experienced bouts of lightheadedness and shortness of breath. Because of that, he consulted with doctors who determined Boone’s heart was beating too slowly and that a pacemaker would be necessary to correct that.

In most cases, the patient will go home after 24-48 hours of hospitalization. Depending on the type of Pacemaker installed, he could be back to work at the Yankee training complex over the weekend, but it will be more likely at some point next week. Because Boone’s job is not that strenuous, he should be able to resume normal activities as long as he avoids lifting, pushing, and pulling anything heavy. He should be able to resume his normal life totally in 4-6 weeks.

Mike Ford still confident

Mike Ford hit his first extra-base hit Tuesday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles. He said it felt good, especially after performing poorly in the 2020 campaign. Ford knows he will have to compete for playing time this year as the New York Yankees have picked up two veteran lefties during the offseason. The Yankees acquired Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich; the catch for Ford is that the two veterans also play at first base, as does Ford.

“I always try to perform, especially when I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder,’’ Ford said Wednesday. “There’s great competition here with a lot of experience. Who knows where the chips are gonna fall?”

Bruce, who had made a running catch in the left-field already this spring, looked sharp at first base in Wednesday’s 4-1, seven-inning win over the Blue Jays. He also added two hits, including a double. Dietrich, who played third base on Wednesday, also hit his first homer of the spring.

Brett Gardner returned to left field

Wednesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Yankee fans in attendance saw an old friend out in the left-field, Brett Gardner. Gardner, the last holdover from the 2009 World Series, languished most of the offseason as the Yankees handled more important re-signings and acquisitions. The Yankees at the end of the season bought out Gardner’s contract rather than take up his $10 million option.

Finally, just days before the start of spring training, the Yankees and Gardner came to an agreement allowing the fan-favorite to return for yet another year with an option for the 2022 season. Gardner has always said he wants to retire as a Yankee. But last season was an odd one with the coronavirus and no fans in the stands. Gardner said he wants to be able to have his family see him play again. On his first at-bat Wednesday, he walked.

Darren O’Day on Darren O’Day

Darren O’Day threw live batting practice on Tuesday at the Yankees minor league complex, immediately after batters had faced Aroldis Chapman. O’Day acquired during the offseason will give a different look to the bullpen with his side-arm delivery. Chapman throws at 100 mph, O’Day is just at 85 mph, but he counts on deception to get hitters out.

“You can’t really quantify deception, but it’s a valuable tool to have,’’ O’Day said. “To have different looks. Just messing with the hitters’ timing [is important],’’ O’Day said. “The more we can do to disrupt that timing, the more outs we’re going to get.”

The right-hander is ready to contribute in various roles; he said that manager Aaron Boone would use him at any point in the game, much like he said Buck Showalter used him in Baltimore. O’Day pointed to Showalter using his relievers to get “four, five six outs a night.”

“We had a great relationship,’’ O’Day said. “I really enjoyed playing for him, especially the early years in Baltimore when the team was pretty much the doormat of the league for a long time. We kind of brought the nice baseball tradition back there.”

New York Yankees overtake the Jays 4-1

The Yankees were back at Steinbrenner Field yesterday after their win over the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota. The game yesterday was an unusual spring training night game. The first time fans got a look at Corey Kluber in a Yankees uniform, and he didn’t disappoint.

Kluber started for the New York Yankees facing the Toronto Blue Jay’s Simeon Richardson. Corey Kluber was magnificent in his first inning in pinstripes. Kluber retired the first three hitters he faced in order, ending the frame with a pretty strikeout of Rowdy Tellez. In the second inning, Kluber looked really good, folks. He struck out two more Blue Jays to finish off two perfect frames.  This performance is wonderful news for the Yankees.

Also making their first appearance of spring training were Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton. After four innings, the game remained scoreless, with Luis Cessa on the mound for the fifth. Josh Palacios doubled off Cessa, but Warmoth struck out; Valero singled, scoring Palacios for the game’s first run. Blue Jays 1 Yankees 0.

At the bottom of the frame, Gary Sanchez again showed off his power, homering and tieing up the game at 1-1. That was followed by Derek Dietrich’s home run driving in two for the Yankees 3-1 lead. It looked as if it would be the first 9 inning game of spring training when the Yankees took the field in the bottom of the seventh, but as it turned out the Jays manager just wanted to get more work for his pitchers. It wasn’t a good decision. The game ended at the end of the seventh, but not before Robinson Chirinos homered to far left for the Yankee 4-1 lead.