TAMPA, Fla. — Saying "I can’t believe how good I feel" after having a pacemaker implanted, Aaron Boone anticipates a return to the Yankees’ dugout "hopefully one of these next two days."
"It makes me really glad that I got this done because, certainly in the last couple of months, I have not felt anywhere close to how I felt this morning," Boone said late Friday morning. "Really excited about it, excited to get back."
The Yankees’ manager took an indefinite leave of absence Wednesday in order to receive the pacemaker, and the procedure was done early Wednesday evening. Boone, in his fourth season, spent the night at St. Joseph’s Hospital here and was released Thursday.
He said he felt a difference physically almost instantaneously.
"Now that I’ve got [the pacemaker], it’s made me realize that I wasn’t feeling good, just energy level, just not myself," said Boone, who underwent open heart surgery in 2009. "I felt like I had to reach for it every day in a way. And [Thursday] and even more so today, I just feel kind of ready to go and ready to kind of tackle things."
Boone didn’t wait long to share the news of his improvement.
"I don’t know when the exact time of his procedure was that afternoon [Wednesday], whether it was 4, 4:30, 5, 5:30," general manager Brian Cashman said Friday. "All of a sudden, we have that night game, it starts at 6:30, and in the 7:10 range, I get a FaceTime. And it’s Aaron Boone. And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I pick up and the energy, how good he looked, the personality was so vibrant. He was like, ‘Hey! What are you doing?’ And I’m like, ‘How are you feeling?’ and he’s like, ‘I feel great.’ And I’m [saying], ‘Wow.’ "
Boone said he felt concerning symptoms throughout the offseason, but it wasn’t until his heart rate dropped significantly that he understood a step needed to be taken.
"I was having more episodes this winter of just kind of getting up and feeling real lightheaded, or almost like at times you’re going to pass out," Boone said. "Just having more days of fatigue on simple matters, so that caused me to want to reach out and just go get checked up.
"When I got checked on initially and they did the tests that I go through yearly because of my heart situation [from 2009], things like that were all coming back really good and no real change of status for my surgery.
"It wasn’t until I wore the monitor for a couple weeks and they were able to determine that I was having a low heart rate [at times in the 30s]. I was kind of glad because it gave me an answer, some validation like ‘Oh, this is why I’m feeling that way.’ And the pacemaker was the way I needed to go. And I can say a couple days in now, me and my new buddy are doing quite well."
Boone, who buoyed the spirits of staff and players Wednesday with separate video messages, received a video response from his players, delivered by Brett Gardner.
"They’re socially distanced, spaced out in their chairs, all position players, and Gardy just kind of spoke for everyone," Boone said with a smile. "And then everyone just kind of chimed in with some smart- aleck comments that were good. But it meant a lot.
"One of the great joys of this job is to be around the group I get to be around and get to lead a group of players that in many cases now I’ve been with several years, and I have grown to really, really care about and love to see them."
Cashman said "the greatest thing is that he just feels amazing," which also let the manager understand "how unamazing he really was feeling over the wintertime."
"Thankfully he acted on his impulses and had it checked out," Cashman added. "But the newer version of him . . . I’m happy for him and happy for his family and happy for us."