Aaron Boone says he has no plans to change how he deals with umpires.
“I’m not going to lose my edge or fighting for things that I think are important,” he said after returning to action for the Yankees' 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Padres on Saturday afternoon.
Boone received a one-game suspension — which he served in Friday night's 5-1 loss to the Padres — for what the league stated was his “recent conduct toward Major League Umpires.”
Included in that was Boone’s American League-leading fourth ejection, which occurred in the third inning of Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the Orioles.
Boone, who led the AL in ejections last season with nine, was tossed by plate umpire Edwin Moscoso between the top of the third and bottom of the inning for reasons the manager didn’t think were warranted. During an ensuing face-to-face tirade by Boone, he sprayed Moscoso with some spittle, which, though it clearly seemed incidental, likely played a role in the suspension.
Boone’s relationship with umpires bears watching. Thursday marked his third ejection in an 11-day stretch — “that just can’t happen,” one organizational insider said — and constant harping about the strike zone can become counterproductive.
Though arguing balls and strikes is grounds for automatic ejection — which is spelled out in the rulebook — some umpires, depending on their personalities, will discuss the strike zone with managers or players. And the umpires willing to engage in those chats generally will give far more rope to the managers and/or players who aren’t on them from pitch No. 1 of a game, a reputation Boone has developed over the years.
On Thursday night, Boone referenced Moscoso’s “dismissive” attitude toward him — citing the umpire's statement that he wasn’t going to “deal” with the manager as one example — and it well may have been dismissive in nature. But the comment also could have been reflective of an increasing feeling among umpires that essentially can be boiled down to “if he’s not going to be fair with us and he's going to complain about every pitch, there’s no need to engage.”
And so Boone, a baseball lifer who said he was “a little surprised” when he received word late Friday afternoon that he had been suspended, probably should not have been taken aback.
Boone, who has been ejected 30 times in his five-plus seasons as Yankees manager, did acknowledge the obvious.
“[I’m] trying to be better and more mindful of knowing that line and the importance of staying in the game,” he said.
Lefthander Matt Krook, who put himself on the club’s 2023 radar during spring training and then with his early results with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was promoted late Friday night and arrived in the clubhouse Saturday morning.
Krook, 28, a fourth-round pick of the Giants in 2016 who has yet to make his big-league debut but who did earn some consideration for a postseason roster spot last October because of his work in the minors, had a 1.04 ERA in 12 games with Scranton.
“He’s hard to hit,” Boone said. “And especially hard to hit for lefties . . . He’s thrown the ball really well in Triple-A.”
Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe went 0-for-3 to extend his current skid to 3-for-36 (.083), which has dropped his season batting average to .197.
“He’s been the same rock-solid person through some of the great moments and great plays and great times and stretches where he’s struggled to get some hits,” Boone said after Saturday’s game. “I have not seen [any frustration], but again, when we made the commitment to him, that’s what we expected. We knew there may be some ups and downs, inevitably, but we’re really confident in the person to deal with all that. Bottom line is he’s been a winning player for us a couple months in no matter what the average says right now.”