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Boone says 'zero intent' on pitch to Betts

Yanks acquire reliever Kontos from Tribe, send him to Triple-A
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Yankees manager Aaron Boone was on his way out of the dugout when he saw that Red Sox manager Alex Cora was already at home plate during the bottom of the first inning in Friday's 4-1 loss to Boston.

"As I started out there, Alex is, you know, already getting held back and stuff," Boone said. "So I just kind of let it run its course. And then I figured, what's done is done at that point and ... let's get on with it and play ball."

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BOSTON -- Yankees manager Aaron Boone was on his way out of the dugout when he saw that Red Sox manager Alex Cora was already at home plate during the bottom of the first inning in Friday's 4-1 loss to Boston.

"As I started out there, Alex is, you know, already getting held back and stuff," Boone said. "So I just kind of let it run its course. And then I figured, what's done is done at that point and ... let's get on with it and play ball."

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Both teams were frustrated with the warnings issued after Luis Severino's first pitch of the first inning went high and inside, knocking Mookie Betts to the ground. The pitch came after Rick Porcello hit Brett Gardner with an 0-2 fastball leading off the game. Cora received his first career ejection as a manager.

"I know there's intensity to Alex," Boone said. "Obviously, he and I are very good friends. So I don't know, maybe that's as fired up as I've seen him. But I know that fire is inside him."

Video: NYY@BOS: Cora, Severino discuss incident in 1st

Boone said there was no intention from his team to retaliate for Gardner being hit. He said Severino was trying to throw a strike inside against Betts -- a risky move against such a powerful batter -- and the ball got away from him.

Still, Boone was not bothered by Cora's strong reaction.

"I understand the emotion of the moment where you see one of your best players go down to the ground," Boone said. "I understand that. But I also hope they realize that there's zero intent from our dugout in that we don't think [Gardner] got hit on purpose. There's no message for us to send through [Severino] out there. I think that was just the emotion of that moment of the game there. I think it's yesterday's news."

After the drama of the first inning, Boone said he felt the game returned to business as usual. For that reason, he doesn't expect that tension to carry over into the next two games of the series.

"I don't think it leaked into the game at all," Boone said. "I don't think it had any effect on [Severino]. I would imagine it didn't have any effect on Porcello, and I thought everyone kind of got back to playing ball and not letting the emotion of that moment carry on."

Yankees acquire Kontos in trade
Before Saturday's game, the Yankees acquired righty reliever George Kontos from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations.

Kontos was assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has a 4.68 ERA in 27 games with the Pirates and Indians this season.

Kontos might not be available for the Yankees as they face the Red Sox on Saturday, but Sonny Gray was ready for his new bullpen role after being removed from the starting rotation Thursday.

Boone said he has aimed to prepare Gray for all possible relief roles. That preparation includes helping Gray transition from starting to being available to pitch more often.

"There are going to be games where he gets an opportunity to maybe keep a game close, give us some length, protect different guys in the 'pen," Boone said. "And there may be nights where we have him come on for an inning. Who knows?"

Blake Richardson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.

New York Yankees, George Kontos