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October 9, 2019

Aaron Boone

New York, New York - Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for dialing in. We have Aaron here with me, so we can begin the Q&A process.

Q. Hicks said down in Tampa that he believes he'll be ready for the ALCS. How much of a consideration is that for you? Is that your read, too?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, he is very much a consideration. He's here today actually. We're hoping to obviously have some sim game stuff going on with a couple of our pitchers and Aaron hitting out. Because of the weather, all our work was done inside. He did a lot of hitting and whatnot.

He's good physically. Obviously hasn't had the kind of reps or games that you'd like, but he has certainly put himself in a position to be considered.

Q. What message might you have gleaned from your experience last year in the ALDS, some of the things you did in this particular series after having gone through it before?
AARON BOONE: I think experience is valuable. I don't know if I look necessarily specifically at it. I've answered this I think before. Just trying to have the constant growth that has never stopped, that has never stopped on this job. Whether it's last year for the first time forming a staff, going through spring training, a regular season, the post-season, an off-season, always trying to grow on the job, learn from successes and failures that you have along the way.

I think just being a year further along and understanding personnel, my players, my staff, hopefully puts me in a better position to make quality decisions because ultimately that's one of my biggest jobs, is not only trying to foster a great culture, but making really good decisions.

I think that's an ongoing process that happens.

Q. With Hicks' situation, a longer series coming up, are you any more or less inclined to take 13 pitchers? Does it depend on the opponent?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, it will possibly depend on the opponent a little bit. One thing we are considering again is do we go with 12 or 13 pitchers. That will be one of the biggest things that we talk through and decide upon ultimately.

Just met with my coaches a little bit, and that's one of the things we've started to talk about. We'll have a larger roster meeting tomorrow. But certainly the opponent will factor into those kind of decisions.

Q. Chapman and Britton okay?
AARON BOONE: Yeah. Chapman is fine. Brit, he came in today to get some work done. He said he's good to go. If he had to pitch today, he would be good to go. Felt even better today. It doesn't seem like something he's overly concerned about. He'll throw tomorrow. Expect him to be a full go with no issues.

Q. Did Sabathia throw today? Anything new with him?
AARON BOONE: CC did throw today. Frankly looked really good. I was really excited about how he looked. He was sharp. He was able to really finish his pitches. I think he's feeling considerably better than he was this time last week certainly.

I would say he is now an option for us, as well, and somebody that we're considering. We'll kind of talk it through. We'll see how he bounces back tomorrow from his session today.

But he's very much in the conversation now.

Q. I know you're watching the other ALDS series. A lot has been made about how tough that series has been. What kind of impact do you think that might have on the ALCS? Do you look at it as an advantage for you guys?
AARON BOONE: I mean, in theory I guess that's true. But I've gotten that question a lot lately, even from some friends, even other coaches.

Honestly, I kind of abide by the 'careful what you wish for'. Sometimes you don't know what you're pulling for. As much as you want a Game 5, maybe that ends up not working in your favor. Who knows?

The biggest thing is we're trying to take care of our house, make sure our players are in a good position. Depending who our opponent is, we feel like we'll be very buttoned up on having a game plan of attacking them.

I'm certainly enjoying watching it unfold. But I don't really draw an advantage/disadvantage type thing. I don't worry about that or consume myself with that at all.

Q. When you look at the other teams that are in the playoffs, they have more traditional builds with their pitchers, relying heavily on their starters, then go to the bullpen. You're a little bit of the opposite. Could you explain how that is an advantage for you? Did you have to be convinced of that when the idea was first broached with you?
AARON BOONE: Obviously everyone is a little bit different. We feel like one of the strengths of our team is our 12 or 13 pitchers as a whole. We may deploy them a little bit differently.

But I also feel very confident and really good about our starters, too. There's going to be some opportunities probably for them to pitch deeper into games.

I think in this last series, I felt like we got three quality outings, albeit a little bit shorter. But part of the way we're built is not just having a few high-end relievers that we count only obviously, but a depth of relievers that we feel very good about that we can kind of navigate a game if we get starters that give us quality, even if it's a little bit shorter.

But hopefully there will inevitably be that game where one or more of our guys get a little bit deeper in the game and set us up much better for an entire series.

Q. You seemed to handle the layoff well coming into the division series. Do you get a sense guys like the break or do you think you'd rather keep rolling with it?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, that's actually one question if you asked me being at this point on the job as opposed to when I first got it, that would have been something that I would always have had trepidation about, having a long layoff.

Maybe it's just with this team in particular, but it's something that I totally embrace and I think benefits us. I know our guys will be ready. I know they prepare really hard behind the scenes to allow themselves to stay sharp.

I look at this time of year, any time we get a couple extra days, I'm not talking about a week or 10 days, but this time around we get another four days off, I look at it as pretty much entirely a positive. I think our guys really benefit from it.

I know come Saturday we'll be ready to roll and feel like we have a really good chance of being sharp, as well.

Q. Why do you think that is? Are you able to have the resources to have guys constantly doing stuff?
AARON BOONE: I think that's certainly part of it. I think guys are able to replicate things much better than, say, certainly when I played just from a facility standpoint. The guys that were here hitting today are able to hit off high velocity machines, they're able to see spin on breaking balls if they want to do that. The video work they're able to do... All the things available to players I think today allow guys to stay a little bit sharper, certainly more so than in the past.

That's part of the reason I don't worry about that as much. I just kind of value the recovery and the rest this time of year.

Q. You're talking about CC earlier. Where do you think he would help you out the most? One-out guy? Going multiple innings? Do you think where he is physically makes it easier or more difficult to do one or the other?
AARON BOONE: I think there's a little bit of a couple different roles he could fill. Multi-inning might be a little aggressive, but a one-off where he's facing a left-handed hitter I could certainly see him in there in a lane where he's facing three or four hitters, possibly an inning plus, something like that.

I think the biggest thing is trying to evaluate where he is. For example, tomorrow, seeing how he bounces back from a pretty aggressive bullpen that he had today where guys stood in against him and he was making all his pitches at full speed and everything.

I think that's the biggest thing: How is he going to be able to recover? Do we think he can pitch in a game and legitimately bounce back and be an option the next day if he were to face a hitter or something like that?

That's one of the things we're trying to get our arms around and evaluate the best we can in these next few days as we come to a decision.

Q. Having a guy like CC, how helpful would it be as far as just the overall bullpen pitcher if you're in the position where you're using a high-leverage arm for one day?
AARON BOONE: A little bit has been made of that with Otto. Part of that is where he was in there against Cruz, obviously a guy that we respected and feared, we're going to put our best matchup against him. But our starters got enough to where I was at a point in the game where I felt like we were covered.

At different parts of the game, he's going to go through a three- or four-batter stage. Where Otto came in these games, I felt like we had the coverage we needed to get to the end of the game and not be stressed out on it, especially in Game 3 where I brought him in behind Kahnle. I knew I had Greeny for length, then Britton and Chappy behind him.

I wouldn't read so much into, Oh, we just don't want him facing a particular hitter. It's more, We're at the really high-leverage point of the game where we feel like we can aggressively match up. That factored into it more than anything.

Q. Before the DS you said you weren't worried about Didi's September slump at all, believed he would play a big role for you. Obviously he did. Did you see anything different from him at the plate or was it just it's the post-season demeanor from him?
AARON BOONE: I think he started to have a little bit better at-bats. The thing I kind of maintain all the time with hitting, sometimes when you go through a stretch where you struggle but you're still a really good player, like Didi is, sometimes it takes an at-bat or a pitch within an at-bat that kind of gets you locked back in a little bit.

I think we started to see obviously some better swings from Didi in this series. I do think the playoffs and the urgency of the playoffs, the stage and everything, I think that's something that helps Didi. I think he enjoys playing in these games. It does bring out the best in him a little bit.

My biggest thing was I knew he was healthy and confident, that he just needed to have some minor successes that kind of helped him get back to being who he is. I was really happy to see him contribute the way he did offensively for us in this series.

Q. Back to Hicks. When you say 'consideration', any trepidation given the fact he hasn't faced Major League pitching in a game since the first week of August?
AARON BOONE: Absolutely there's trepidation. That's part of the decision. But you could also see him filling a number of roles. I mean, when he's healthy, he's a really good player and a really important player for us, an impact player.

I could see him anything from being in the lineup on a given game. I could see him being on our bench. I could also see us not ready to make that move yet because of not being fully worked back up.

Those are things we'll try to evaluate as best we can the next couple of days, try and make the best decision for us moving forward.

Q. Are you going Pax, Tanaka, Severino again?
AARON BOONE: Haven't decided that yet. May or may not factor who we're playing. But those will be the conversations that we have, one of the conversations we have over the next couple days.

I'm considering everything right now.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for joining us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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