The Yankees played their second intrasquad game of Summer Camp 2020 Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Manager Aaron Boone met with the media prior to the game.
Boone started with an update on Masahiro Tanaka, reporting that there is not much to report workout-wise yet, but that Tanaka is doing well. The Yankees are taking it slow and making sure Tanaka is not rushed through the concussion protocol.
Boone also said that at this time there is also no update on Luis Cessa and DJ LeMahieu, stating they are both awaiting two negative tests back home before than can travel to New York and begin the intake process with the Yankees.
Gerrit Cole was the starter for one of the squads Tuesday night. Prior to the game, Boone spoke on how special of a pitcher and a person Gerrit Cole is. Luke Voit, who was also interviewed on Tuesday stated that Cole already looks like he’s in mid-season form. Boone spoke on how Cole was able to get in a lot of quality work during the Quarantine, allowing him to drive his pitch count up last week when he threw three-ups.
“He’s been sharp,” stated Boone. “His stuff’s been good and he is in a really good spot right now in his progression.”
Boone stated that Cole’s intelligence and aptitude make him a special player. His ability make adjustments and the way he’s evolved as a pitcher, including adding to his repertoire and understanding his body are all great qualities of Cole. Throughout his career thus far, Boone noted that Cole has been able to enhance his physical qualities and stay healthy and strong; he has an outstanding athletic delivery as well.
Boone also spoke on Miguel Andujar, stating that the Yankees will be testing him out at third base, as well as in the outfield and balancing him between the two positions. Throughout Camp he will continue to work in both spots and the Yankees are excited for his ability to play the corners & outfield.
When asked about Aaron Judge coming back from injury, Boone stated his recovery progression timed up perfectly for being able to get him to this point. He began in Tampa a month ago progressing with hitting in a pool and a then taking dry swings. The Yankees wanted to make sure the bone healed properly and it has coincided to perfectly align Judge to be ready for opening day.
Boone, during his pre-game interview spoke on his hitters and pitchers being able to face each other during Summer Camp. Boone stated that all of the guys are looking ready and have come in hitting the ground running. The Yankees value hitters facing real pitchers and pitchers facing real hitters. With being two weeks out from the first regular season game of the season, Boone and the Yankees believe that it is important for hitters and pitchers to get in as many reps as possible while trying to be smart and creative about building up. “I feel like we’re ready from a pitching and hitting standpoint and we’re going to try to take advantage of that as much as we can,” stated Boone.
With Masahiro Tanaka still in concussion protocol, Boone also spoke on the Yankees rotation, stating that he hopes to remain with a five-man rotation and that a four-man rotation was not on the table heading into opening day. Boone stated he has confidence in the depth of the pitchers the Yankees have and that if they have to get creative, they would be prepared to do so.
Following tonight’s game, Boone returned to the Media room for a post-game interview.
Boone spoke on Gerrit Cole, saying he looked great tonight and was able to push his pitch count safely & responsibly & the Yankees did that tonight with Cole going five innings. Boone stated that Cole finished really well and that his stuff was really good and sharp from start to finish. Boone was impressed with how sharp Cole was and how more in rhythm he was, especially with his slider.
Gerrit Cole also spoke after the game and in evaluating his start tonight, said it was good and that it was nice to get through five innings tonight. He gave up a couple walks early, but stated that he was able to bounce back well and was happy with how he located his pitches. Cole specifically mentioned that he needs to work on his fastball command, but all in all, he was very happy with his outing tonight and is looking forward to seeing how he bounces back after a couple rest days and then leading into his next start how he performs then.
When asked about getting an adrenaline rush, Cole said he tries to find the middle ground between being too high and too low. With playing in empty stadium, you don’t have the fans to give you that energy, but Cole said that he was able to stay focused and find that adrenaline tonight.
Cole closed out his interview saying that he feels good and like he’s at the halfway point of Spring Training, making the push toward the end. He was able to push the pitch count tonight and went five innings, which was a plus for Cole.
Michael King also took the mound tonight for one of the squads. Aaron Boone stated that Michael King looked really good. Boone was impressed with how he mixed his four pitches and was able to be really effective and lock up some really good hitters. Like Cole, Boone said King finished really well tonight. “He came out tonight and was pretty crisp,” stated Boone post-game.
Boone hopes to use King for different roles, saying he fits the bill to be a starter or come out of the bullpen.
Michael King met with the media after his outing tonight and said he felt great. He stated that it was nice to be back out on the field competing and to face a great Yankees lineup. “It was fun testing yourself a little bit,” stated King with a big smile on his face. King said tonight was about getting reps in, but he was also working on a new arm-side 4-seam fastball that he hopes to use in 0-0 pitch counts to get ahead of batters.
When asked about what role he sees himself being used in, King said he’s taking it day by day and doing what he’s asked to do. He stated he loves starting, but could come out of the bullpen if needed as well. “If they need me as a reliever, that’s my role,” stated King. But he said he is taking day by day, enjoying the experience and doing what he is asked to do. He stated that while it would change his role and approach, he would be willing to come out of the Bullpen if needed. He stated he would study hitters a lot more and be ready to go everyday.
When asked about his impressions of Gerrit Cole, King stated he loves his intensity, during a game, during workouts, and during bullpen sessions, stating that Cole always goes max effort and treat everyday with the same intensity. He gets mad at himself for missing pitches, and has an intensity to him that Cole likes.
Aroldis Chapman also met with the media tonight after entering Yankees camp a couple days ago. He stating that preparing for this season is definitely different with everything going on, but that he feels like he is in a good place. He believes that he will be facing hitters and getting into games soon.
Those who follow Chapman on Instagram know that he posted a lot of his workouts and did not take much time off. When asked about his quarantine training, Chapman responded, “I did not take any time off.” He was home with his family around, but was practicing everyday. He took Sundays off, but other that, “It was continuous work,” stated Chapman.
Chapman also came back into camp looking a lot leaner. He stated that he was able to take advantage of the time off to lose some weight while training at home. He stated he feels like he’s at a really good and athletic weight for him as an athlete.
When asked about the Yankees’ bullpen, Chapman stated that you can tell everyone took advantage of the quarantine and worked out. “Everyone looks ready,” stated Chapman. “It’s going to be a benefit. It’s going to be an advantage for us.” “If we’re healthy and we’re ready, It’s going to be good for us.”
Being back in the ballpark for the first time, Chapman was also asked what it’s been like training and what he feels like it’ll feel like to play during a pandemic. Chapman responded with, “It’s a world-wide issue that everyone is having to go through.” “I have to through the experience and see how that feels (pitching in an empty stadium). “Once I get into a game and see the reality out there, I’ll be able to give a better answer,” stated Chapman. Chapman also said that once he gets on the field, however, he has to put everything aside that would distract him and focus on the task at hand, which is the game.
Luke Voit was the final interview for the day. Voit also came back into camp much leaner and said he dropped 13 pounds during the quarantine. He stated eating clean, meal-prepping and mainly eating meat and veggies was the key to his success. He stated that he stopped late night snacking and added cardio in. “Being really strict and not having as many cheat meals on the weekend; I wanted to eat clean and be quicker this year,” stated Voit.
When asked what it’s like being back and getting in a game situation, Voit said it was good to be back; it felt good to put the cleats & jersey back on and to get in some game reps. The empty stadium reminding him of college fall ball, Voit said no fans was a little weird, but that it felt good to back out at Yankee Stadium in a game situation again. He said fans are a huge part of the energy in the stadium, but Voit said his personality will not change. He will continue to be a “big kid at heart,” and make the best of every situation and will have fun no matter what.
Voit was asked was it was like facing Gerrit Cole. He stated Cole looked like he was in mid-season form and that his good pitches are “elite” in caliber. “He knows what he’s doing out there,” stated Voit. “It’s good to have him on our side.” Voit said Cole is a great leader and that he is excited to learn from him.
The Yankees also announced today that they will be playing four exhibition games prior to opening day:
- Saturday, July 18 against the New York Mets at Citi Field, first pitch at 7:10 p.m.
- Sunday, July 19 against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium, first pitch at 7:05 p.m.
- Monday, July 20 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium at 6:05 p.m.
Manager Aaron Boone said he’s excited for the exhibition games and that it’s important to get a few games in to give the team a really good tune-up heading into regular season. Luke Voit also spoke about the exhibition games, saying, “It’ll be good.” He said it’ll be nice to potentially have umpires, get into a normal routine, have everyone in the same dugout, and go through a normal game routine. “It’ll make it more game-like, which will be nice to get us ready for Washington,” stated Voit.
YANKEES TO PLAY METS ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2021, the 20th ANNIVERSARY OF 9-11:
One other big announcement that was made today was that for the 20th anniversary of 9-11 in 2021, the Yankees and Mets will play each other at Citi Field on September 11, 2021. “I can’t imagine how emotional and how powerful of an event that could be,” stated Boone who recalled playing for the Reds during September 11, 2001. He remembers how impactful it was for his team and recalled the Piazza vs Braves game when Mike Piazza hit the first home run at Citi Field since the terrorist attacks of 9-11. “Just imagining how emotional and how powerful of a game and an event that might be,” stated Boone.
Yankees Summer Camp continues tomorrow. The date of the next intrasquad game has not been announced yet, but we do know the first exhibition game of Summer Camp will be on July 18th against the Mets.