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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

After never leaving Yankee Stadium, Aaron Boone enjoys a better day

Yankees manager Aaron Boone walks to the dugout

Yankees manager Aaron Boone walks to the dugout against theOrioles at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Don’t sleep on Aaron Boone.

While Brett Gardner said he tossed and turned in bed after a 14-inning loss to the Orioles that ended at 12:29 Saturday morning, Boone said he slept like a baby.

At Yankee Stadium.

“I actually stayed here last night,” Boone said Saturday afternoon after the Yankees’ bounce-back 8-3 win over Baltimore. “We had so much going on. I actually got a good night’s sleep.”

Boone would not disclose exactly where he slept in the building.

“I found a good spot,” he said with a smile.

That crushing loss — during which the Yankees lost four players to illness or injury — had the potential to make Boone wonder if he had made the right call in leaving the broadcast booth for the dugout.

As an ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” announcer, Boone did one game a week, maybe two, and when the game was over, he probably stepped into a waiting Uber and headed back to a comfy hotel and some oversized pillows. Maybe some room service.

After the Yankees’ 7-3, 14-inning loss, Boone talked with the media. He talked with his coaches. He talked with his sick or injured players, two of whom would end up on the disabled list, one against his will and the other with a previously undisclosed and concerning medical issue.

Boone also talked with general manager Brian Cashman about the half-dozen roster moves the Yankees made before Saturday’s 1 p.m. game.

So it was no wonder that Boone couldn’t remember on Saturday morning how many innings the previous game ended up going. He asked if it was 15 or 16.

Sure, Boone made a bunch of on-field managerial decisions in a short span Friday and Saturday. But in terms of managing — in terms of what the job of manager is really about — Boone did his best work in the wee hours of Saturday morning and then after his stadium sleepover.

The issues he faced were many:

*** CC Sabathia left Friday’s game with a sore hip, had an immediate MRI, said it was all good, and then was told he was going on the 10-day disabled list anyway. Sabathia was not happy.

*** Brandon Drury left Friday’s game with severe migraines and blurred vision, a condition he apparently had been hiding from his employers for six years, according to what Cashman told Newsday’s Erik Boland.

Boone, who had a long talk with Drury, said: “That turns into just a human, person-to-person conversation that he and I had. You can see him struggling to find some answers with it. And certainly I don’t have the answers. All we can do right now is kind of support him.”

*** Tyler Wade left Friday’s game with the flu. Gary Sanchez left in the 14th with a cramp in his calf. Neither played Saturday, but both are expected to be OK.

“Obviously, there’s a lot going on,” Boone said. “[Friday] night was as unique a night as you’re going to have in the game with guys dropping and guys going down . . . A little adversity has creeped in and hit us here. But our job is to go out there and perform. And there’s no excuses, and no one’s going to feel sorry for us right now.”

So Boone went back to work — or at least back to his office from his secret slumber spot.

Two fresh arms were called up from Triple-A to buoy an exhausted bullpen. Jace Peterson was called up and inserted into a makeshift lineup in leftfield. Tyler Austin, who wasn’t supposed to make the Opening Day roster until Greg Bird got hurt, was the No. 5 hitter. Rookie Miguel Andujar, the interim third baseman while Drury is out, brought his 0-for-12 start to the season to the sixth spot in the order.

And it all worked out just fine. Sonny Gray went six. Peterson made a crucial running catch to thwart an Orioles rally in the sixth. The Yankees snapped a 3-3 tie with two runs in the bottom of the inning as Andujar, who earlier picked up his first hit of the season, had the go-ahead sacrifice fly. Then the Yankees put the game away with three in the seventh as Aaron Judge had an RBI double and Austin added a two-run single.

“Today was a good day,” Boone said before praising his team for showing up ready to play. He should know. He was still there to greet them when they arrived.

New York Sports