WASHINGTON — Giancarlo Stanton apparently knew something.
Stanton, who kneeled along with teammate Aaron Hicks during Saturday night’s national anthem in support of Black Lives Matter and to protest racial injustice, was asked after the game about his feelings regarding President Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday that he would be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before an Aug. 15 game against Boston at the Stadium.
“I’m not positive that’s a sure thing that’s going to happen,’’ Stanton said. “We’ll get there when we get there. That’s in August. It’s not something I have to worry about now.”
And perhaps not at all.
“Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. “We will make it later in the season!”
The truth, however, might be a bit more complex than that.
The decision by Stanton and Hicks to take a knee Saturday night — something they informed their teammates and manager of beforehand — was notable for more than a few reasons.
The most significant was the anger felt by many in the organization — a group that includes staff, players and executives — regarding the invite, which Trump said was extended by Yankees president Randy Levine. The sentiment most often heard was the seeming incongruity between the lengthy statement released by the club June 8 about Black Lives Matter and racial inequities and reaching out to Trump.
Masahiro Tanaka, delayed slightly after taking Stanton’s liner off his head in a simulated game on July 4, threw a two-inning simulated game at the alternate training site in Scranton on Sunday, striking out three.
One observer said Tanaka, who suffered a concussion when hit, seemed “confident and unfazed from the injury” on the mound and “looked very much like himself.”
Tanaka could slot back into the rotation in five days.