Anthony Volpe of the New York Yankees warms up on...

Anthony Volpe of the New York Yankees warms up on the field before Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Thursday’s Yankee Stadium season opener is the first for the Yankees with Aaron Judge as the captain. It’s also the first with rookie Anthony Volpe as the shortstop.

Manager Aaron Boone addressed those two players in his Opening Day pregame news conference.

“Have fun,” Boone said he told Volpe. “That was my message to him this morning, was just play your game and have fun. He's ready. He's prepared. I think there's great comfort in being prepared and know you're ready for a moment, whatever happens. You're going to have good days. You’re going to hit road bumps here and there. But he's got the talent and the head on his shoulders to deal with all of it. I'm confident of that. So the biggest thing now is go play. Go play your game."

Volpe switched his uniform number from the 77 he wore in spring training to 11, which is the lowest non-retired number the Yankees have available. His locker is next to last year’s shortstop, Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Boone was reminded that there was a moment this offseason when an erroneous internet report had Judge signing with the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are the Yankees’ Opening Day opponents, so if Judge had signed with them he would have been introduced along the third-base line before Thursday’s game as a member of the opposing team.

"I did tell [Judge] yesterday, especially with the Giants being in town, one of my lowest, darkest places this winter was when I thought maybe it was in jeopardy that he was coming back," Boone said. "For whatever period of time, that was one of the darkest places I went, was picturing him on that third-base line in a Giants uniform on Opening Day. That's something that was not a good thought or picture. So I'm thrilled that he is here where he belongs as the captain of this team and where he's going to finish an amazing career. He's everything you could want in a great player and a great leader and captain. Just grateful that I get to continue to be his manager."

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