New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone returned to the dugout three days after surgery to have a pacemaker inserted.
“It felt good just to be at the ballfield again, competing with the guys,” he said after managing New York’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Boone, who turns 48 in a few days, left the club to get the pacemaker at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida. He returned to camp after clearing COVID-19 protocols and said he feels great – especially so when he watched ace Gerrit Cole cruise through a simulated game at the team’s spring training facility in Tampa.
“Good to come watch Gerrit Cole pitch,” Boone said with a grin. “That’s a good way to get back into it.”
Boone – who says his only restriction is he can’t raise his left hand over his head for about a month – then joined the team in nearby Bradenton for a rain-delayed exhibition game against the Pirates.
“I was shocked to see him today,” said right-hander Jameson Taillon, who started against Pittsburgh. “I was really happy to see him here. I know he went and saw Gerrit’s sim game and then came here for the game to manage today. That’s a full day for a first day back.
“Obviously, anytime you bring up the heart, it’s scary, but he seems to be in a great spot, in great spirits, and we’re happy to have him back.”
Boone had the pacemaker inserted after he was found to have a heart rate as low as 30-39 beats per minute, well below the 60-100 considered normal for adults. Boone, who had open heart surgery in 2009 for a congenital defect, had been experiencing light-headedness and fatigue this winter.