Aaron Boone feeling much better with pacemaker, may return to Yankees this weekend: ‘I can’t believe how good I feel’

Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News
·4 min read

TAMPA, Fla. — By 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday night, hours after having surgery to implant a pacemaker in his chest, Aaron Boone was getting back to work. As he recovered in a hospital bed, he was watching new Yankee Corey Kluber make his spring training debut in pinstripes on the organization’s video services. Thursday he watched his team lose to the Phillies and by Friday, after coming to the complex to start his COVID-19 protocols to come back, Boone was ready to jump right back in.

“I can’t believe how good I feel. It makes me really glad that I got this done. Because I certainly have not felt anywhere close to how I felt this morning,” the Yankees manager said on a Zoom conference call Friday morning. “Even yesterday morning, getting out of the hospital. So really excited about it and excited to get back.”

In his first interview since he took a sudden medical leave to have the procedure, Boone said that he expects to “be back,” to work Saturday or Sunday. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be in the dugout for Saturday’s game in Bradenton against the Pirates or here at George M. Steinbrenner Field for the game against the Phillies, but he expects to be back in the Yankees COVID-19 bubble and working at the complex.

“We’ll see,” Boone said about his return to the dugout. “I think I’m ready to be in the dugout, but look, I’m not not in any hurry. I feel like I can get a lot done and accomplish a lot just by being there. I’m grateful for that and lucky in that, I’m sure a lot of managers think they have a really good coaching staff and support staff, but I have the utmost confidence in our guys.”

Boone was energetic and upbeat Friday. He said it was a lot different than the recovery he had in 2009 when he had open-heart surgery to repair a congenital defect in an aortic valve. Boone said his only limitations will be to using his left arm for the next few weeks, he cannot raise it over his head. This is to allow the wires implanted to set permanently.

While being the Yankees’ manager is a stressful job, Boone said that he was told that is not an issue.

“My understanding is my way of life or anything moving forward or leading up to this point, were not contributors,” Boone said.

Boone said he felt dramatically better than he did over the winter. The fatigue and light-headedness along with his history of having had open-heart surgery in 2009 had him looking to doctors for answers.

“I did some things and went and started getting tested because there were some signs there that I wasn’t feeling the way I should be. But I think now that I’ve got this, it’s made me realize that man, I wasn’t feeling good, just energy level, just not myself,” Boone said. “I feel like I had to reach for it every day in a way and yesterday waking up and even more so today. I just feel kind of ready to go and ready to tackle things and honestly sitting here. It’s different than it was a couple days ago and probably for the last few months.”

Boone said his heart rate was low, around 30 beats per minute, and would not accelerate even after exercise.

“Me and my new buddy are doing quite well,” Boone said patting his chest.

So well, that Boone is not only eager to get back to camp, but also to get back on his Peloton and see if he can improve his rankings.

“I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike, because in my bike rides that’s one of the areas where I’ve noticed it. I like to ride the Peloton and in the last couple of months I’ve been not as durable on the bike. So, hopefully, I’m looking forward to getting back on there and see if I can do a normal ride and end my ranking on the Peloton because it’s taken a hit here lately.”

The news that Boone was going into the hospital only broke hours before he had the surgery. Just GM Brian Cashman and a few of Boone’s coaches, including bench coach Carlos Mendoza, knew what he was going through. Before he went into the surgery, Boone addressed the staff via Zoom and recorded a video for his players. It was to keep the players’ minds at ease and ask them to keep focused on spring training.

The players sent back a video after the surgery.

“It meant a lot. It really did. Just to see those guys and that they were thinking about me, meant a lot,” Boone said. “One of the great joys of this job is to be around the group I get to be around and lead the group of players that in many cases now I’ve been with for several years and have grown to really, really care about and love. To see them take the time to do that meant a lot.”