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Best Yanks lineup? Boone to trust the numbers

Manager evaluating data as Opening Day nears
MLB.com @BryanHoch

LAKELAND, Fla. -- On several occasions this spring, Aaron Boone said that he has jolted awake from a deep slumber, inspired to jot a potential lineup combination down on a napkin or paper scrap. When the regular season begins, however, he expects to trust the numbers far more frequently than whatever is conjured from those dreams.

Boone's education as a first-year manager has included extensive exposure to the work being performed by the Yankees' analytics team, which volunteers reams of statistics on a daily basis. As he tries to iron out his first Opening Day lineup, Boone has taken to issuing his own homework assignments to the number-crunchers.

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LAKELAND, Fla. -- On several occasions this spring, Aaron Boone said that he has jolted awake from a deep slumber, inspired to jot a potential lineup combination down on a napkin or paper scrap. When the regular season begins, however, he expects to trust the numbers far more frequently than whatever is conjured from those dreams.

Boone's education as a first-year manager has included extensive exposure to the work being performed by the Yankees' analytics team, which volunteers reams of statistics on a daily basis. As he tries to iron out his first Opening Day lineup, Boone has taken to issuing his own homework assignments to the number-crunchers.

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"I have them run stuff for me all the time," Boone said. "I talk to my coaches about different lineup combinations. I'll bring guys in from the front office and ask them to run different run-projection stuff on what it looks like with this guy; if we give this guy [a day] off, what's the best combination? Those are conversations that I'm always having."

Boone said that the procured data should come in handy when evaluating how he splits the lineup, based on matchups against opposing starters or bullpens. He is strongly leaning toward having Aaron Judge hit second, for example, but he remains undecided on if the Yankees must insert a left-handed bat to break up Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

During the interview process, Boone was provided with a list of nameless players' statistics and asked to put lineups together. He said that the exercise was "kind of fun," and though it was never explicitly stated, Boone said that the lineup will be his -- and his alone -- to create.

"It's kind of a given," Boone said. "Did it come up? Not necessarily. But it's clear that it's my call."

Giving HOPE
The Yankees have announced the return of HOPE Week for its 10th season, to be held this year in New York from June 11-15. The initiative is a unique week-long community program that brings to light five remarkable stories intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities.

Tweet from @Yankees: The Yankees are proud to announce the return of HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) in 2018 for the 10th consecutive season! HOPE Week will run June 11 - June 15.The announcement will kick off w/ a pregame ceremony on 3/21 @GMSField to honor Computer Mentors Group. pic.twitter.com/ePrvgJsoDo

For the eighth straight year, the Yankees will recognize an individual or organization from the Tampa, Fla., area during Spring Training.

A pregame ceremony will be held on Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field to honor Computer Mentors Group, a nonprofit organization that provides computer training to inner-city youth in the greater Tampa Bay area, while also establishing a network of computer professionals to mentor students.

That's the Rule
The Yankees received right-hander Anyelo Gomez as a Rule 5 Draft return from the Braves on Tuesday, assigning him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Gomez, 25, was 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA in seven spring appearances for Atlanta, spanning 8 1/3 innings.

The Braves auditioned Gomez as a bullpen candidate after he pitched at four levels of the Yankees' system last season, going 5-3 with a 1.92 ERA and nine saves in 38 games (one start). In 70 1/3 innings, Gomez issued 21 walks and struck out 87.

Injury report
Jacoby Ellsbury (right oblique, fever) reported improvement on Tuesday morning. Boone said that it is possible Ellsbury could play on Thursday against the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla., though he is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.

Bombers bits
• Opening Day starter Luis Severino will make his final spring start on Saturday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Yankees also play the Blue Jays that day in split-squad action at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Boone said that bench coach Josh Bard and pitching coach Larry Rothschild will make the trip to watch Severino.

Up next
Luis Cessa will make his fourth spring start on Wednesday as the Yankees host the Orioles at 6:35 p.m. ET. Judge, Sanchez and Stanton are all expected to be in the Yanks' lineup. Hunter Harvey is scheduled to start for Baltimore. Listen to the game on Gameday Audio.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees