New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone returned to the dugout Saturday, three days after surgery to have a pacemaker inserted.
“It felt good just to be at the ballfield again, competing with the guys,” he said after managing New York's 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Boone, who turns 48 in a few days, left the club Wednesday to get the pacemaker at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida. He returned to camp Saturday after clearing COVID-19 protocols and said he feels great — especially so when he watched ace Gerrit Cole cruise through a simulated game at the team’s spring training facility in Tampa.
“Good to come watch Gerrit Cole pitch,” Boone said with a grin. “That’s a good way to get back into it.”
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Boone — who says his only restriction is he can’t raise his left hand over his head for about a month — then joined the team in nearby Bradenton for a rain-delayed exhibition game against the Pirates.
“I was shocked to see him today,” said right-hander Jameson Taillon, who started against Pittsburgh. “I was really happy to see him here. I know he went and saw Gerrit’s sim game and then came here for the game to manage today. That’s a full day for a first day back.
“Obviously, anytime you bring up the heart, it’s scary, but he seems to be in a great spot, in great spirits, and we’re happy to have him back.”
Boone had the pacemaker inserted after he was found to have a heart rate as low as 30-39 beats per minute, well below the 60-100 considered normal for adults. Boone, who had open heart surgery in 2009 for a congenital defect, had been experiencing light-headedness and fatigue this winter.
Taillon struck out four over two scoreless innings. Jay Bruce and Clint Frazier homered for the Yankees, and Thairo Estrada had the club's two other hits.