Yesterday afternoon New York Yankees Field Manager Aaron Boone gave his first spring training press conference. He gave no opening statement. It was more of a question and an answer affair with the media asking questions and Boone commenting.
Boone on Gerrit Cole:
Meredith Marakovits was first up asking if Boone has seen newly acquired first bullpen session and what he thought of it? Boone responded:
“He had a really good day; it was good to see him put on the pinstripes and get out there and have a very efficient day of throwing 25 pitches.”
Boone said that he was able to speak with Cole. He was impressed with his detail and noticed what each of his pitches was doing. He added that it was good to see him get out there on the mound in that Yankee Uniform.
Another question was asked by the media as to what else they talked about. Boone said it was good to speak with him as he knows what he wants to do, and being able to talk to a good pitcher only speeds up the process us growing together as he acclimates to the team, so we can aid him and help him improve in his game.
“He expects a lot of himself and continues to work hard to be great as he improves in his craft,” Boone said.
Boone was asked: what does the addition of Cole to the rotation and to the entire ball club mean in your mind? Boone summarized that he is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, and adding him to an already good lineup makes him the anchor as other of our injured pitchers come back, Sevy, Monty Happ, and others. Boone cited that Cole was a true ace that goes deep into games and makes our bullpen even better, allowing them to come in when they are really needed.
Gary Sanchez and more on the Astros going forward:
On another subject, the media asked about Gary Sanchez and if some of the mechanics changes he was making. The reported added: “how much room do you think he has to grow?” “I think there is still a lot of meat on the bone; I think he has improved a lot over the years and with Tanner coming in and the work that has already begun, there’s a lot more there to be had” Boone responded. He added, “I’m confident as the season progresses, we will see those results.” Boone was then asked if he was sure that any Astro devices were not used last year in the playoffs? Boone smiled and said: “No, you know that’s certainly one of those great unknowns.” He also summarized, saying that he feels the way the Major League has handled this will lead to better baseball going forward. He said that he, at times, was mad and frustrated but said it was time to move on.
Boone avoids Astros anger and the outlook for the Yankees:
For a period of time, the media was citing different things that were said and done in trying to get Boone to express some anger; they were unsuccessful with Boone commenting continually that that’s in the rearview mirror, we are focused on a championship. He did add that he thinks the steps the MLB has taken and will continue to take will better police the game. After the Astros questions Boone was asked if he thought the addition of Cole after the loss of some players, and some of the returning players, it would allow him to continue what he started last season?
“We think we’ve been a championship team the last couple of years—adding Cole that was taken away from one of the teams we’ve been competing against so heavily, so having him is exciting.” Boone added that: “we have a lot of guys that are in the prime of their careers and hopefully we will be a little bit more fortunate on the injury front this year.”
Boone: Hinch and Cora still friends, and Jordan Montgomery:
He was asked if he would go out of his way to explain the rules of what can be done and can’t be done regarding sign-stealing. Boone said no, our players know what to do our culture tells us how to handle ourselves. He was also asked how he felt about Hinch and Cora. Boone said I still consider them friends, we all make mistakes, none of us are perfect, I’ve struggled with it, tried to make sense of it. In another pitching question he was asked regarding the number five spot, is it an open competition or is it Montgomery’s to lose? “We’ll see, Monty is in a good place,” Boone responded. He also summarized making the answer vaguer. He’s worked hard this offseason and is ready to go, but we also have some other great arms that will make their names known. Don’t be surprised if you see some of them make an impact.
Domingo German status:
Boone was asked as to what’s going on with Domingo German. Boone offered that he was in the Dominican Republic and that he has been going a couple of times a week for the last three or four weeks to get in his work. He added that he and his staff visited the complex a couple of weeks ago and saw several players, including German. He said that he will continue to train there and that there was no plan at present to have him at spring training, but that could change.
How will the Astros be treated at Yankee Stadium?
The Astros situation continued to come up during the press conference. At one point, the media asked: how do you think it will be playing the Astros this year, especially at the Stadium? Boone offered with a rye smile that “I’m sure it’s going to be an interesting season for them.” “it’s going to be a story everwhere they play, who knows how it all plays out.” He added that we play them late in the season, we may be contending for a spot at the Stadium who knows what the reaction is going to be, but it will be a storyline during the whole season. In another Astros question, he was asked if he had personally spoken to Hinch, Boone said that he had texted him once, but had not spoken to him and wasn’t ready to go there yet.
Boone on Miguel Andujar:
Boone was asked if he met with Miguel in the Dominican Republic, and Boone answered in the affirmative. He said that he talked with him about playing different positions and offered that Andujar had already started working on that on his own. Boone was further quired as to why he thinks Miguel can handle a multi-positional role. Boone indicated that one thing he liked was Miguel’s openness to do it, and Boone feels that he has the athletic ability to be successful at it. He added that Miggy would work his tail off at it, and with his versatility, it may add to his value to the team.
Giancarlo Stanton and the outfield:
Boone was asked how much he was going to use Stanton in the outfield and if he was fully healthy. Boone indicated that he was confident that Stanton is healthy. On the outfield and how much Stanton would play there, he more or less skirted the issue, saying it depends on the matchups and the health of our players. We have a lot of good players, and we may use him as DH much of the time but “certainly feel good about him playing the outfield, and I feel he is healthy enough to do that on a regular basis if needed.”
On the James Paxton surgery:
The Media asked if Paxton will return in May or June? Confident is the word Boone used, stating that the early returns are good and that he was moving around well. He added that it would probably be a month before he starts throwing. He said that Paxton noticed the problem in his last regular-season start in Texas, and we took him out of the game as a precaution even though he wanted to tough it out due to the upcoming postseason. He pitched well in the postseason, but as the winter progressed, it kept annoying him. He underwent treatment that seemed to solve the problem. After his last injection and consultation with specialists, it was determined that he should undergo the surgery.
Boone discusses Gleyber Torres as shortstop:
The last question of the press conference was on Gleyber Torres and how Boone thought he would do as the new shortstop. Boone responded: “I think he will do well,” with a big smile, Boone said: “he’s had a decent start to his career, he’s kinda handled everything that’s been thrown at him and then some.” Boone added that he is happy to return to his natural position at short. He’s a young man at just 23, and he has continued to improve from day one. Boone cited his preparation, his routine, and maturity in how he handles himself. “The only thing he has to do now is to go show that he is capable of being an everyday shortstop.” Boone ended by saying that he was confident that he would take that next step.
Although the media kept up questions on the Astros situation well into the middle of the press conference, it was evident that Boone did not want to dwell on the subject, and would rather discuss the Yankees spring training. The entire press conference was very upbeat on the outlook of the 2020 Yankees campaign to get to a 28th World Championship.