Spring training exists for reasons beyond giving players a chance to get into shape. That’s especially true today with players often times showing up to camp in better shape than they left in the season before.
These days, it’s more about players getting acquainted with new surroundings. It’s more about pitchers experimenting with new pitches. And yes, it’s more about new managers adjusting to life in the hot seat.
As Yankees first-year manager Aaron Boone found out on Saturday, spring training exists to teach you lessons. Hard lessons. Lessons that you can’t afford to learn when the games count. It allows you to make mistakes you otherwise wouldn’t live down, and Boone was certainly guilty of one of that magnitude during Saturday’s Grapefruit League game against the New York Mets.
Bad start for a new manager. Yankees remove Dellin Betances after an inning vs the Mets – nobody warming in the bullpen for the next inning and they had to bring Betances back out of the clubhouse to face at least one batter – and then it was Aaron Boone’s half inning to go on tv pic.twitter.com/An0KZUFttF
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) March 10, 2018
Bullpen management is one of, if not the most important aspects of managing in the big leagues. Obviously, spring training presents a different dynamic with more frequent changes needing to be made, but it also highlights the need to pay attention to detail.
In this case, Boone and his coaching staff overlooked the most important one — having a new pitcher ready — and it forced him to extend one of his most valuable relievers in an exhibition game.
Betances wasn’t slated to go back out there to face a hitter, but he said Adam Warren wasn’t ready. “There was some confusion there,” he said. Hence the awkward delay.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) March 10, 2018
Betances would allow a first-pitch single to Luis Guillorme. Adam Warren then covered for Boone by putting up a zero.
Fortunately, because it’s spring training, awkward is as far as this situation will go. Boone will learn from it, most in the Yankees clubhouse will laugh about it and fans will undoubtedly overreact to it. As long as there’s no repeat when the games start counting, it will be a mere blip on the radar.
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