During his pregame Zoom media conference, Yankees manager Aaron Boone joked that, after hearing Rays manager Kevin Cash’s words about the Yankees’ “poor judgment” in terms of pitching Tuesday night, he could use Wednesday to “reflect a little bit and maybe tighten up my coaching techniques.”
Hours later, in an appearance on WFAN’s Joe & Evan Show with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, though, Boone didn’t mince words when Evan noted that DJ LeMahieu had seen a couple up and in pitches “the other day.”
“The other day? DJ has played six games against the Rays this year, and we have seven (pitches) up and in around the head in six games,” Boone said. Look, I don’t think they’re intentionally trying to hit DJ or anything, but there’s more to it than that. You can’t be reckless with how you go after guys, and it’s important to have some regard. Moving guys off the plate is part of pitching and processes, but when you go repeatedly up and in, things can get dangerous. I wish more teams would have regard when they do go in there.”
He also had some words about Cash’s words.
“I did think it was a little reckless and certainly emotional; emotions were running high at the time, I understand that, but I thought it was unnecessary,” Boone said. “But, I also try not to let myself get too caught up in what other people are saying, and not allow myself to go down that rabbit hole too.”
Boone hasn’t talked to Cash, only noting they have a good relationship and this set of incidents won’t affect that, but he also played coy when asked if Masahiro Tanaka’s plunking of Joey Wendle in the first inning Tuesday may have been intentional.
“I know Masa, because he’s so split and slider heavy, and because they are a tough lineup, you have to be able to flash your heater and move the ball around,” Boone said, “so who knows if one just got away from him there or what. I haven’t even talked to Masa about it.”
Boone expected his one-game suspension as a result of Aroldis Chapman’s suspension for Tuesday’s incidents – “I think it’s just becoming more MLB policy now – doesn’t mean I agree with it, but I do respect Chris Young and the process they go through,” he said – but hopes that when the two teams play for the final time tonight, cooler heads do prevail.
“They are a team we very much respect, and we know that when we play them, we have to be at our best, and we really do want to put those things behind us and play the game,” Boone said. “When you play a team 19 times a year in a typical season, every now and then, stuff does spill over. You hope that cooler heads prevail, and ultimately turn the focus back on the field.”
And he did have one more parting shot about hit batters, and regard for intent.
“I’ve talked about this a little with the league, and they told me that hit by pitches are way up this year, while penalties for hitting players are also way up, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” Boone said. “It’s important when guys go inside, you have regard. I think with penalties the way they are, this happens – they’re not going in there to hit a guy, but they don’t care if they do and get penalized.”
You can listen to Boone's entire segment with Joe & Evan below.