Yankees ‘shocked’ by Aaron Boone’s return after heart scare



TAMPA — Aaron Boone went back to work Saturday, just three days after having a pacemaker inserted to address a low heart rate.

The manager was at the Yankees’ Player Development Complex on Saturday morning, while Gerrit Cole and Justin Wilson pitched live batting practice. The team then headed to Bradenton, Fla., to face the Pirates at LECOM Park, with Boone in the dugout.

“It felt good just to be at the ball field again, competing with the guys,’’ Boone said following the Yankees’ 3-2, seven-inning loss to the Pirates. “I felt really good. It was a wet day, and I’m glad we were able to get in and get guys the work they needed. Overall, it just felt really good to get back out [there].”

While some of his players were “surprised” and “shocked” by Boone’s quick return, his father was not.

“He’s a Boone,’’ Bob Boone told The Post about why his son was so determined to get going again. “That’s how we do it.”

Bob Boone, in Florida this spring in his role as senior adviser to the general manager with the Nationals, was in constant contact with his son throughout the process that led to the procedure.

Aaron Boone talks to pitcher Gerrit Cole on Saturday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Any time it’s the heart, you say ‘Whoa,’ ’’ Bob Boone said. “He’d never mentioned that he was feeling anything beforehand. It was very scary for my wife and I as it was happening, but Aaron was calm and confident the whole time. … He called me afterwards and said it was the best he’d felt in six months.”

Aaron Boone called being back with his team “great” following Wednesday’s procedure — which he said left him feeling more energetic than he had been in months — and required COVID-19 tests. “It was good to come watch Gerrit Cole pitch. That’s always a good way to get back into it.”

The timing caught his team off guard, with many not expecting him to return until Sunday’s home game at Steinbrenner Field, at the earliest.

“I was shocked to see him here today,’’ Jameson Taillon said after he threw two scoreless innings against the Pirates. “That’s a full day for a first day back. Obviously, anytime you bring up the heart, it’s scary. He seems to be in a great spot and in great spirits and we’re happy to have him back.”

Cole called Boone’s appearance “a nice surprise. … It was good to see him back and feeling good.”

Boone and Cole braved the rain for the two-inning live batting practice as Boone moved from field to field to watch different drills.

The manager then traveled to Bradenton and managed against the Pirates after bench coach Carlos Mendoza had filled in for him during his absence. Boone was in the dugout and trotted to the mound during the game, with no signs he had been in the hospital just days earlier.

The 47-year-old left the team on Wednesday to undergo the procedure at a Tampa hospital. Boone said he had been feeling lightheaded and sluggish, but by Friday, he couldn’t believe how good he was feeling and was not facing any restrictions, other than lifting his left arm above his head because of the incision near his heart.

He was encouraged by what he saw on Saturday from Cole, who had been scheduled to start against his former team in Bradenton before the forecast altered those plans and forced him to remain in Tampa.

Cole pitched through the rain, although Boone said “there was probably about a 60-second point there where I was like, ‘Oh, come on, man … fade a little bit …’ and it did.”

Despite not being able to face his old team, Cole was satisfied with what he was able to do.

“The adrenaline is not the same,’’ Cole said of pitching live BP compared to a game. “But at this point, it’s not that big of a change. … I’ll settle into game-atmosphere Thursday or Friday.”

Boone seems like he’s already there.

— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce in Bradenton, Fla.


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