The Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo kneels after fouling a ball off his...

The Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo kneels after fouling a ball off his leg during an MLB game against the Twins at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After another conversation with Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Boone decided to give the slumping first baseman another day off.

Rizzo, who went 0-for-4 in Saturday night’s loss to the Dodgers at the Stadium to fall into a 1-for-29 slide, did not play Sunday night, nor was he in the starting lineup Monday night for the first of four games against the Royals.

“He and I [talked],” Boone said before Monday night’s game, in which DJ LeMahieu again got the start at first. “Something I was kind of leaning toward. Yesterday [we talked] about him being probably a couple [of games] down, but we were going to circle up each night.”

Boone said he wanted to give Rizzo a mental break of sorts.

“Just want to give him a couple of days,” he said. “He’s working through some things, but also a little break there, too.”

Rizzo entered Monday never really having gotten it going this season. He was hitting .224 with seven homers, 25 RBIs and a .624 OPS in 64 games.

Rizzo, who has dealt with back issues much of his career, spent about a half-hour on the field at Kauffman Stadium about five hours before first pitch going through a variety of stretching and agility movements (which often has been part of his pregame preparation the last few seasons).

Boone said the three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, whose 2023 season was short-circuited by post-concussion syndrome, is healthy.

“Rizz is doing really good,” Boone said of his overall health. “He does a lot of things now maintenance-wise that are just part of his daily routine. One of the reasons, from a back standpoint, over the last couple of years, he’s in a really good spot because of that maintenance stuff that he does.”  

At least one more for Cole

Boone said Gerrit Cole came through his most recent rehab start OK and added that he will pitch in at least one more rehab game — likely on Friday — before the club considers activating the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner from the injured list.

The Yankees said from the start of Cole’s rehab that the righthander would pitch in at least three games in the minors.

Boone said late last week that it is conceivable that Cole, who threw 57 pitches for Double-A Somerset against Hartford on Sunday and allowed one run, two hits and one walk with four strikeouts in 4 2⁄3 innings, could return to the Yankees to continue his buildup. In other words, Cole, who retired his last eight hitters Sunday, won’t necessarily need to reach, for example, 100 pitches in the minors before rejoining the club.

“I thought the pitch count landed in a great spot,” Cole said afterward, according to The Associated Press.

“Fastball was not very good early, missing in bad places. That definitely progressed to where we executed the last seven or eight of them in a row. Curveball was really sharp. Changeup was really great. Cutter was really great. Slider was . . . to my eyes it looked OK, but it was coming off the bat hot, didn’t seem like it was fooling anybody. Overall, checked a lot of the boxes.”

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