Yankees manager Aaron Boone was suspended for Sunday’s game for making contact with plate umpire Nic Lentz during a memorable argument on Friday night.
Boone was informed of the suspension on Saturday by Major League Baseball chief baseball officer Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager. The suspension was announced on Sunday morning, and bench coach Josh Bard managed the Yankees during their 11-7 loss to the Tigers at Yankee Stadium.
“I accept it,” Boone said before the game. “Obviously, I got a little too close for comfort there, so that’s part of the deal. I’ve just got to accept that.”
Boone’s cap made contact with Lentz’s cap during a fifth-inning argument over balls and strikes.
“Unfortunately, I got a little too close,” Boone said. “I do regret that . . . I always want to be in control of my emotions to a degree, but sometimes you also have to state your claim and defend certain things that are important. But I definitely shouldn’t have nicked his cap.”
Boone was ejected by Lentz while in the dugout after a strike was called on Gleyber Torres. Boone ran out of the dugout and up to Lentz, and that’s when his cap brushed the umpire’s cap. Lentz could be seen saying, “That’s contact. That’s contact.”
Boone continued the argument by crouching behind home plate and holding up his left hand as if he were catching a pitch. He told Lentz, “That’s a strike,” before moving his hand outside the strike zone and saying, “That’s a ball.” Boone then walked back to Lentz to point his finger in the umpire’s face and make a final point.
Boone joked that the next time he’ll “just flip my cap around backwards and let it rip.”
The Yankees, who didn’t have any hits at that point, hit three home runs in the span of four batters in the next inning in an eventual 7-5 victory.
It was the third ejection and first suspension of Boone’s rookie season as a manager. He said Sunday morning that he would do his job until just before game time and probably watch from a suite.
Boone came to the Yankees’ dugout direct from ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” booth. Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay offered to let Boone announce Sunday’s game from the YES booth, but Boone declined with a smile.
One day after general manager Brian Cashman made headlines by suggesting that injured closer Aroldis Chapman might not return this season from his knee injury, Boone said: “I think when I checked in with Chappy this morning, he was feeling a lot better. I’m optimistic that he’ll work his way back, but we’ll see.
“He’s in the early days of just starting to play catch and stuff like that. We’ll see depending on how long it takes to ramp him up and how he continues to respond to things. But I’m hopeful he’ll be back.”
Boone said he doesn’t expect Didi Gregorius (heel) back for the series in Oakland that starts on Monday, but the next series in Seattle seems possible.
“I would say he’s getting closer,” Boone said. “Today was a really important day because the workload really ratcheted up . . . He’s probably starting to knock on the door of getting back.”
Andrew McCutchen went 0-for-4 with a run scored. He is 0-for-7 and has been hit by pitches twice in two games as a Yankee . . . Adeiny Hechavarria went 0-for-3 in his first start since the Yankees acquired him from the Pirates on Friday . . . The Yankees recalled righthander Jonathan Loaisiga from Double-A Trenton . . . Aaron Hicks and Luke Voit hit opposite-field home runs Sunday, giving the Yankees 224 homers in 137 games . . . The Tigers had 17 hits, four by Victor Reyes (homer, two doubles) and three each by Nicholas Castellanos, Ronny Rodriguez and Dawel Lugo. Seven of Detroit's hits went for extra bases . . . Sonny Gray allowed one run in four innings of relief, giving up Reyes' home run.