New York Yankees Aaron Boone
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

New York Yankees new manager Aaron Boone was not only impressive in his first official press conference, he’s on a serious World Series mission.

Aaron Boone opened Spring Training with a press conference on Tuesday and talked about his role as the manager and about meeting the expectations of the New York Yankees. At the press conference, Boone invoked the name of Joe Torre when asked which of his former managers had the most influence on his emerging managerial style.

In doing so, Boone revealed two things about himself. One is that he is now a manager in the great tradition of Yankee managers (as opposed to players). Two is that he aspires, like Torre, to be strong and calm whatever situation he encounters along the way.

Boone described what a calming presence Torre had in the clubhouse, particularly when Boone joined the Yankees after being traded at the deadline in 2003 via John Harper of the New York Daily News.

“Just his presence, his kind of soothing nature,” Boone said, remembering walking into Torre’s office that first day. “His ability to put me at ease in what’s a whirlwind experience when you get traded, especially coming to a place like New York.

“So hopefully I take a little piece of what I thought he was great at into this job. I just think there’s a way of communicating, a presence. Not necessarily the words you say but maybe the presence that he had.”

Boone was also asked about the high expectations for this team, especially in light of Dellin Betances’ recent comments, as reported by Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News.

We were so close last year — one win away from the World Series,” Betances said Tuesday. “We know what it feels like, and we kind of have a sour taste in our mouth. We want to win. So if we don’t win (it all), it’s not a great year for us.

Boone responded that he understands the expectations in New York are to win championships and that the players are not satisfied with what they accomplished last season, but are hungry to finish the job.

He told reporters that he had been in contact with many of the players since he had been named manager, by way of meetings, dinners, golf, and texts. The purpose of spring training is to get individual players ready to play. So, Boone and his staff are establishing the relationships with the players that will impact them in their preparation for the season.

Boone said the second base and third base positions would be fluid in spring training with Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar and Ronald Torreyes having “opportunities right in front of them.” He said it would pretty much be an open audition for these infield jobs.

As far as the outfield and designated hitter situations, Boone said that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton both want to win and have both bought into the different “spots and scenarios that might unfold.”

When asked if he had a starting pitcher for Opening Day in mind, he said had been discussing it with Larry Rothschild and others and that they had not made any determination. Also according to Boone, another area that will unfold as spring training progresses is the starting rotation depth.

The main takeaway from the press conference: the Yankees are on a mission to achieve greatness again in 2018 and will embrace whatever means will lead them to their goal.

“One of my messages to the team will be to embrace that expectation. Expect to go out there and be great. With that comes this kind of attention. We’re not going to run from that.”

Aaron Boone’s goal for 2018? Win the last big league game of the season.


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