Yankees News/Rumors: Boone on the cheating Red Sox, Injury updates and much more

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Aaron Boone
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Boone on the cheating Red Sox

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone weighed in on the Red Sox sign-stealing scheme that was released on Wednesday by Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.  The commissioner’s report said that Boston’s video-replay operator in 2018, J.T. Watkins, at times during that season, used the game feeds in the replay room “in violation of MLB regulations, to revise sign sequence information that he had permissibly provided to players before the game.’’

MLB found that the Boston cheating scheme was not as egregious as the sign-stealing that was committed by the Houston Astros that may have cost the New York Yankees a berth in the 2017 World Series.  Many feel that the punishments issued by MLB against the Astros was too light and did not strip them of their Championship.  Likewise, the punishments given to the Boston team were also too light. 

MLB suspended Watkins from operating the video replay machine through the 2021 season.  The MLB did not fine the team or any of the players or front office with the exception of manager Alex Cora who had already been fired by the Red Sox.  He was suspended for one season but not for what he did as a Red Sox.  The only real punishment given was the loss of a second-round draft pick. The cheating may have cost the Yankees wins in 2018 that saw the Yankees lose to the Red Sox in the ALDS.

Boone was asked yesterday on the YES Network if he thought the MLB punishments fit the crime?  Boone responded:

“I don’t know. Who knows exactly what went down? I do trust that Major League Baseball thoroughly investigated and got to the bottom of things as best they can. I feel like if that’s what they come up with, so be it. It’s time to move on.’’

New York Yankees injury updates:

New York Yankee pitcher James Paxton who underwent back surgery late in the offseason, was expected to miss at least three to four months of the season.  With his rehab going well, that was reduced to two to three months.  New York Yankees’ new pitching coach Matt Blake from his home in Cleveland said the Paxton had been playing catch for some time now, and his rehab is going well.  Paxton will benefit from the coronavirus shutdown and may now not miss any playing time at all, depending on when the regular season starts.

Aaron Judge suffered a fractured rib and a partially collapsed lung while diving for a catch near the end of last season.  After a series of MRIs were performed during spring training that saw Judge not take part in any games, it was determined that the shoulder issues he was having were really caused by the cracked rib.  The collapsed lung resolved itself nicely, and when spring training was halted, his rib was already healing.   Judge as well has benefited from the time off.  Boone said when speaking with the YES Network’s Meredith Marakovitz said:

“He’s in Tampa, we’re using this time, he’s using this time to continue to heal. I don’t really have much more for you other than, obviously, it’s been very productive having the chance to have this time to allow that rib to heal. That is happening. But as for where he’s at exactly, we don’t have anything for you on that yet.”

In other injury news, Aaron Hicks that was supposed to miss a large chunk of the season due to rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is now expected to miss only a small portion of the shortened season if he misses any of it.  He is throwing and progressing nicely.  Outfielder and DH Giancarlo Stanton has completely recovered from his grade one calf strain and is ready to go, according to Boone.   Unfortunately, ace Luis Severino will miss the entire season due to Tommy John surgery that was performed during spring training.

What are Yankee pitchers doing during the shutdown

New York Yankee pitchers are trying to stay in form during the coronavirus shutdown.  Newly acquired ace Gerrit Cole is at his new home in Greenwich, CT.  He is working out and pitching to his athletic wife Amy and to Yankee Manager Aaron Boone, who lives nearby.  James Paxton is rehabbing at his home in Wisconsin.  Matt Blake is keeping close tabs on him and his recovery and is directing his pitching rehab. Blake has said he is closer to a return each day.

Masahiro Tanaka is staying in form and doing some pitching at local fields in his native Japan.  J.A. Happ is also at home trying to stay in form.  Pitching coach Matt Blake has said he is letting his veteran pitchers pretty much handle there own ways to stay in shape so that they can start where they left off during a mini-spring training.  He is more closely supervising the programs of Jordan Montgomery, Johnathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, and others.

Giancarlo Stanton on his performance

Giancarlo Stanton came to the New York Yankees after being traded by the Miami Marlins at the end of the 2017 season in which he was named the National League MVP.  Since coming to the Yankees, he has underwhelmed and has suffered several injuries.

No one wants Stanton to get back to his 2017 form more than Stanton himself.  He has said that he thinks he is one of the keys to advancing the Yankees back to the World Series.  “The newness of my surroundings was the most challenging thing for me,” Stanton said this past February from his locker inside the Yankees clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. “Even things as simple as getting to the ballpark and getting around the city took time to get comfortable with. You try to minimize the time you spend concentrating on all of the things away from baseball, to be your best on the field. But everything was brand new.”

Stanton is now healthy and ready for the season to begin whenever that happens.  He wants to contribute in a big way.  He knows it’s a team effort and that it doesn’t come from just home runs.  He, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres have the ability to hit 160 home runs if they hit to their potential.  Stanton indicated that that is the icing on the cake.  It’s a team effort of getting on base and having excellent defense.  Stanton wants this to be a breakout season with the Yankees.