Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Boone: Hungry Yankees embracing expectations

Rookie manager says loaded club will 'expect to be great' as pitchers, catchers report
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- As Aaron Boone padded across the clubhouse carpet at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday morning, exchanging handshakes and head nods with the Yankees' assembled pitchers and catchers, the rookie manager could clearly envision the culture he aims to build during the next several weeks.

After a successful shift from big league infields to the broadcast booth, Boone is set to tackle arguably the greatest challenge of his career. He understands the hype surrounding a team that is viewed as a legitimate World Series contender and vows that his players will embrace those expectations.

TAMPA, Fla. -- As Aaron Boone padded across the clubhouse carpet at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday morning, exchanging handshakes and head nods with the Yankees' assembled pitchers and catchers, the rookie manager could clearly envision the culture he aims to build during the next several weeks.

After a successful shift from big league infields to the broadcast booth, Boone is set to tackle arguably the greatest challenge of his career. He understands the hype surrounding a team that is viewed as a legitimate World Series contender and vows that his players will embrace those expectations.

Video: Boone on defining roles for Stanton, Judge

"What stands out being in the room right now is, each guy I've spoken to, the hunger is there," Boone said. "There's no satisfaction with what they were able to accomplish. We understand it's a very tough road, and that'll be one of our messages, especially for young players that have had success. From what I can tell, the hunger in these guys is real."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Introduced as Joe Girardi's successor in December, Boone was building his coaching staff when general manager Brian Cashman pulled off the winter's biggest blockbuster, acquiring reigning National League MVP Award winner Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. Coupled with an ahead-of-schedule advance to the American League Championship Series, the Yankees were restored to juggernaut status.

Full transcript of Aaron Boone news conference

"One of my messages to our team will be to embrace that expectation," Boone said. "Expect to go out there and be great. With that comes this kind of attention. We're not going to run from that. We're going to embrace that, and we're going to expect to be great."

Spring Training information

Video: Boone on addressing team for the first time

Beyond his star-studded roster of Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and others, Boone's name conjures warm memories for a generation of Yankees fans who quickly associate him with the biggest swing of his career, an 11th-inning home run off Tim Wakefield that defeated the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS.

An ill-fated pickup game of basketball that winter ensured '03 would be Boone's only season playing in pinstripes, but as he again donned a cap with the Yankees' interlocking "NY," Boone appeared at ease fielding questions during a 35-minute news conference on Tuesday afternoon. He called the events of the day "a bit surreal."

Video: Boone on Rothschild's experience and influence

"I feel like I've jumped right into the organization," Boone said. "It's an organization on such solid ground, from ownership to the front office to the player development and research. I've been surprised how solid, how stable everything is. I've just tried to jump in and be a part of that machine."

While looking ahead to the possibility of handing prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres infield jobs, figuring out how best to utilize the DH spot and scouting the Yanks' depth on the pitching side, Boone said that a major focus will be placed upon team-building exercises and getting individual players ready for the long season ahead.

Video: Boone analyzes competition for infield positions

As a neophyte skipper, Boone believes that overloading on preparation will help him to be "buttoned-up" and make the proper decisions when games begin.

"I want to be somebody that is known as a smart manager that makes solid decisions, that is prepared," Boone said. "When you walk into our clubhouse, hopefully I'm a part of what I believe is a winning culture, but also a culture where guys are at ease, where guys are allowed to be themselves."

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

New York Yankees