Aaron Boone provided injury updates about a handful of Yankees on Wednesday, much as he would before any game.
Aaron Hicks has started a throwing program at his home in Arizona in his comeback from Tommy John surgery and James Paxton is continuing his program in Wisconsin following back surgery.
Aaron Judge, who Boone believes suffered his collapsed lung on the same diving play in September that resulted in his fractured rib, is still resting and doing some lower-body work while he awaits further tests in a few weeks.
And Giancarlo Stanton is just about fully healed from a strained calf.
But at this point, the Yankees manager has no idea when any of them might actually have a game to play in, as Major League Baseball is still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic that has halted nearly the entire sports world.
The manager, though, said he is hopeful MLB can still salvage a regular season and playoffs — and that will serve a part in getting past the impact of the crisis.
“I’m still kind of optimistic [and] hoping for the best that we can get in as many games as possible,’’ Boone said during a conference call Wednesday, which would have been the day before Opening Day, prior to the season being suspended indefinitely earlier this month.
“Obviously, the schedule is gonna be altered to some degree. But this is something that’s bigger,’’ Boone said. “We’re not gonna be able to have our way or our number or the perfect outcome. Our job when we come back, ultimately, is gonna be bigger than the game and all of us, as well.”
Boone said he is confident that when that day comes, baseball will provide relief to the public.
“As we’ve seen throughout time, sports can play a role in the healing,” Boone said. “As a diversion, a distraction [or] a sense of normalcy. All the kinds of things we have a role in our society to play. And whatever that is, albeit it’s certainly going to be different than usual this year, so be it. We’ll be eager to hopefully go out and do our part. And in our case, our focus will remain the same. To be the best we can be and try to win another championship.’’
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Boone talked again about the possibility the regular season could extend into November using neutral sites, and he floated the notion that if more doubleheaders are scheduled, they could look into mirroring the minor leagues and playing a pair of seven-inning games.
For now, Boone said there are about eight to 10 players still working out or getting treatment at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.
That could change once Hillsborough County begins to enforce its “Safer at Home” policy on Friday following a Wednesday vote.
The policy means that residents will be asked to stay in their homes 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which will prevent players from being able to work out at the Yankees’ complex. It’s unclear whether that would keep rehabbing players from getting treatment.
The Yankees still have one minor leaguer who tested positive for coronavirus under quarantine and the minor league complex in Tampa remains closed at least until Thursday, but they’ve had no new cases on either the minor league side or with the major league roster.
Team spokesman Jason Zillo said Wednesday that no one is being tested or awaiting a result after the minor league facility was shut down March 13, when the first minor leaguer reported symptoms and eventually tested positive.
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