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Yanks' workouts may cease as situation evolves

Boone heading home to be with family, will keep players updated
@BryanHoch
March 16, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees voted unanimously last week to remain together through baseball’s coronavirus shutdown, but as information develops and Major League Baseball adheres to new guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control, manager Aaron Boone said that it is becoming more difficult for the team to continue

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees voted unanimously last week to remain together through baseball’s coronavirus shutdown, but as information develops and Major League Baseball adheres to new guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control, manager Aaron Boone said that it is becoming more difficult for the team to continue those informal workouts.

“Our guys really wanted to stay and work out,” Boone told MLB Network Radio on Monday. “Now as the last couple of days have unfolded, that’s looking like it’s getting more and more challenging. It changes all the time. … Just trying to keep up as best we can. It obviously continues to move really fast. We’ll just try and keep our guys abreast as best we can.”

A sizable contingent of Yankees players gathered at George M. Steinbrenner Field over the weekend, going through the paces of hitting in the cages, tossing from bullpen mounds and working out in the weight room -- much as they would have in the earliest days of Spring Training.

Monday had been a scheduled off-day on the Grapefruit League calendar, so the players decided to adhere to that, intending to meet again in the Steinbrenner Field clubhouse on Tuesday. If they do, Boone said he will likely not be on-site with them.

“I’m probably going to head home to New York in the next day or two,” Boone said. “That’s my plan right now, but it just continues to be fluid and evolves. Right now, I think I’m probably planning on going home for a little while. … I’m looking forward to getting back with my kids. I know that they’ve started their online schooling.

“I have four kids, from high school down to elementary school. I’m going back to be part of that, and hopefully I can go contribute to that and lighten the load and be a part of helping the community out in a way just by being there for my kids right now. That’s obviously one of the most important things.”

Boone said that if he leaves Florida, he intends to monitor developments at camp by remaining in regular communication with general manager Brian Cashman, assistant general manager Jean Afterman and the Yankees’ coaching staff as they distill information from the Commissioner’s Office, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the federal government.

“Obviously, this is kind of uncharted waters,” Boone said. “We’re going to try to do our part as citizens, with also keeping our team in mind and how to be best prepared when that bell rings.”

Should Yankees players scatter across the country, as the members of several other Major League clubs already have, Boone believes that they will stay in shape by following their normal offseason programs.

“I feel like our guys, as a whole, do a good job of preparing themselves and putting themselves in a good position, so I’m confident that our guys will be really responsible no matter where they disperse to, or if they stay here,” Boone said. “I know they’re going to do all they can to stay ready, stay fresh and prepare.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Monday that Opening Day has been pushed back at least eight weeks in accordance with new CDC guidelines. Whenever the season does begin, Boone said that he believes Aaron Judge, James Paxton and Giancarlo Stanton could all be healthy and ready to play.

“Hopefully more silver linings come out, but there’s no question in the case of those guys,” Boone said. “Pax just started throwing. He’s doing really well. Giancarlo is doing really well. Aaron, with a chance to continue to rest and heal up, there’s no question this is going to give those guys a chance to be part of our season from the start potentially. That’s one thing that at least is a little bit exciting about it.

“But it’s tempered from a baseball standpoint that we were two weeks from go time. There’s so much that goes into that point of Spring Training. All of a sudden, to have to throttle back from a baseball standpoint is rough, but there’s no question for those guys to get a chance to continue to heal and rest and in Pax’s case, get built up, that’s a good thing. The biggest thing is obviously this thing is way bigger than all of us and this is bigger than baseball. We just want to do our part.”

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