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Boone gives young Yanks taste of rivalry

Hicks connects on first spring homer; Ellsbury still out with oblique strain
Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Aaron Boone already knows a thing or two about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

The new Yankees skipper got his first taste after he was traded from the Reds to the Bombers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline 2003. Tim Naehring, New York's current vice president of baseball operations and a former Red Sox infielder, worked in the Reds' organization at the time.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Aaron Boone already knows a thing or two about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

The new Yankees skipper got his first taste after he was traded from the Reds to the Bombers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline 2003. Tim Naehring, New York's current vice president of baseball operations and a former Red Sox infielder, worked in the Reds' organization at the time.

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"[Naehring] said, 'You have no idea what you're walking into right now,'" Boone said.

While Boone may not have known the stakes at first, he certainly found out shortly after that, hitting one of the most memorable home runs in the history of the rivalry -- a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 7 of that season's American League Championship Series.

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So even though the Yankees' 5-3 win over the Red Sox on Saturday was just a Spring Training game, Boone thought it might be important for some of his younger players to get an early taste of the rivalry.

Video: Yanks skipper Boone reflects on epic rivalry with Sox

Second baseman Gleyber Torres, right-handed starter Chance Adams, who allowed a hit and a walk over two scoreless innings, left-hander Justus Sheffield and outfielders Billy McKinney and Jake Cave were among the younger players who made the trip.

"I think there's something to that," Boone said. "Yeah, I think anyone that comes up in this organization understands the Red Sox-Yankee things. So I think it's good experience for those guys. But you don't get too far ahead of yourself, either. You do understand that it's early March, and today's just another day in our process of being ready in a few weeks."

Youth served
Boone was satisfied with what he saw from Adams and Sheffield.

"Adams, a little step forward," Boone said. "I thought, after really struggling with his command in his first time [giving up one run in one inning against the Phillies on Feb. 26], today was a little bit better. Still didn't really have that great fastball command yet, but better. So, a step in the right direction for him, and hopefully he can just get more and more comfortable."

Video: Top Prospects: Justus Sheffield, LHP, Yankees

Sheffield went two innings, giving up a run on two hits and two walks with one strikeout.

"Sheff, I thought, was really good again," Boone said. "He had a couple of 1-2 counts where he gets to 3-2 with a couple of pitches that I feel like he's trying to overdo, and they become kind of non-competitive pitches against big leaguers. They're going to let them back in the count. But I thought he flashed, again, someone I continue to be really excited about, we continue to be really excited about. So hopefully as he continues to get those opportunities, it just builds his confidence.

"But I thought all in all, I come away positive for them again."

Hicks homers
Aaron Hicks hit his first home run of the Grapefruit League season on Saturday, launching one out in the third inning off right-hander Joe Kelly to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Video: NYY@BOS: Hicks opens the scoring with a solo homer

"I'm still trying to figure it out," the switch-hitting Hicks said of the current status of his swing. "Right now, it's not just one swing, it's two swings I got to worry about. So, it takes me a little bit longer to figure both out, but as far as taking BP, both of them feel really good. I feel like I'm making solid contact. And in the game it's just starting to get there."

Injury updates
• Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who was scratched from Friday's lineup with a mild oblique strain, sat Saturday also.

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"'Ells' was kind of similar today," Boone said. "It's in there, so not a lot of work for him. It just continues to be something that we'll monitor day to day. But not much changed from yesterday. There's still that tweak in there."

Boone was not certain how long Ellsbury might be sidelined.

"No, any time you're talking, even though we do believe it is a mild strain, oblique's a tricky thing," he said. "It's like a hamstring or a groin, one of those things you need to be healthy, because as soon as you're not and you go out and push it, you set yourself back even more. So we'll be conservative in how we treat it and find out more. Hopefully it won't be too long."

Clint Frazier, who was been dealing with a concussion, reported to camp Saturday morning but didn't participate in baseball activities.

"Nothing today," Boone said. "Came in and said he felt a little bit better today, but we kind of shut him down. No activity today, no cage, no getting the heart rate up. So he came in, and then I think we've sent him home. But, all in all, came in saying feeling a little bit better today and at least got from all the testing we've done, hopefully it's not something severe."

Frazier is scheduled to see a doctor on Sunday.

Up next
The Yankees host the Rays at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. Right-hander Chad Green is scheduled to make his second Spring Training start. He fanned three over 1 2/3 innings in his first outing. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is scheduled to start for Tampa Bay.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

New York Yankees, Chance Adams, Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Hicks, Justus Sheffield