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October 18, 2019

Aaron Boone

New York, New York - pregame 5

Q. What told you Giancarlo Stanton was ready to get back in there and ultimately why him over Encarnacion?
AARON BOONE: He was one of them that told me. Just felt good about his progress yesterday. I felt like it was the first day where he made some pretty good progress. Clearly not a hundred percent running, don't feel like hitting will be an issue for him. And just have to kind of govern himself out on the bases.

But he's been kind of wanting in there the last few days and held off, held off. And then he actually did come by my office last night and we both kind of said, Let's go.

And so excited to have him back in there.

Q. Could you talk about what you told the team today about the discipline with the strike zone and how important that will be against Verlander tonight? What did you tell the team about that, how important is that?
AARON BOONE: I haven't told them anything today about that. That's always -- I think those of you that are around us know that it's something that we talk ad nauseam about, about controlling the strike zone. And it's something that those guys are very good at and will be important for us moving forward today and on in this series.

If we're going to move on we've got to be able to do that at a very high level, especially against a pitching staff like the Astros.

Q. Defensive infield that you're putting out there in this series is obviously really good and really talented. Have you had a chance to maybe sleep on it, do you have any explanation or thoughts of why they had a rough night last night? Or maybe there is no answer.
AARON BOONE: No, I have a ton of confidence in that group, in the defense certainly we're running out there again tonight. It's been one of the strengths certainly in the postseason for us and we had a bad night last night, and those things unfortunately happen sometimes. But have all the confidence moving forward in those guys that they're going to continue to play a high level.

Q. Are you worried the way that game kind of spiraled, some guys just got sloppier than usual and that had to do with the situation?
AARON BOONE: I don't know. When you make mistakes, I mean, that's how it looks. But as far as moving forward, confident that these guys will flush it and go out and play like they're capable of tonight.

Q. After the game last night you were pretty honest about how disappointed you were in your team. Do you remember being more upset or surprised at your team's performance since you took over this job?
AARON BOONE: I don't know. It's obviously a lot on the line and when we don't play our best I think everyone gets frustrated at that because we expect a lot of ourselves. I know our guys expect a lot out of themselves.

But one thing I know about them when we have, throughout the year, done things at a very high level or had a clunker or not played well, I feel like this team, as much as any that I've been around, do a very good job of letting yesterday roll off and being hyper focused on the day, and confident that will be the case today.

Q. Could you walk us through the conversation on the mound with CC and Stevie last night and anything you may have talked with him about today?
AARON BOONE: Well, we sensed for a couple of pitches that maybe he had hurt himself. So I actually called Stevie over. We saw him throw one more pitch and then we kind of ran out there.

CC just obviously talked about his shoulder and then said, But let me throw one and see how it is. And he threw one and right away you knew that was it. And he and Stevie walked off.

So there wasn't a lot of conversation other than CC is not very dramatic at all about it. It was just threw it and knew that was it. Yeah, that was it.

Q. (No microphone.)
AARON BOONE: As far as what?

Q. (No microphone.)
AARON BOONE: Yeah, I think he knows my affection for him, he knows his affection for his teammates and how we all feel about him.

And I think there was -- he and I even kind of laughed about it a little bit, like kind of in a weird way, kind of a perfect way to go out. He's been the ultimate teammate, competitor, gamer, left everything on the field, left everything he had on the mound.

I talk about it to our guys every now and then about, Give us everything you've got. And CC embodied that, and he left it all out there last night.

Q. Just following up on that, from your perspective as a manager, I think it's always probably difficult to tell people that they're coming off a roster or they're being sent down. How emotionally taxing was that for you to have to talk to CC and basically realizing that this is the end of his career?
AARON BOONE: Emotional but a lot of happiness and joy in it, too. I talked to him in the food room last night and hugged him and had a lot of really good comments back and forth with him. He knows what he means to me and to us. So I think it was some sadness but also very happy time. CC will be fine.

Q. As a pitcher CC is obviously used to being around the guys on days he's not contributing on the field in some ways. What role does he have to play for you guys in these next three games if you're going to advance?
AARON BOONE: He'll be the same. He'll be this presence on the bench, presence in the clubhouse.

One of the things about having him in the bullpen is I've missed having him on the bench, looking over there and hearing him or hearing his laugh, hearing his chatter. I'll pass by him every now and then in a game, in the middle of a game, kind of for some levity for myself and just say something I noticed happened in the game or in the stadium.

So in that way it will be nice to have him back on the bench tonight and look over and be able to see him.

Q. You've been around the game in some form or fashion since you were a boy. I wonder, have you ever come across anyone who is a starting pitcher who was looked at as a leader in his clubhouse like him, young, old, hitter, pitcher, all backgrounds, et cetera?
AARON BOONE: I don't know at the level that CC is, when we're talking about a Hall of Famer. We've been going through this all year and all the great things being said about CC. I think everyone understands how authentic it is and genuine. He's the best. I mean, he's how you would draw it up from a teammate standpoint, from a competitor standpoint.

One of the greatest things CC has, and I think is one of the greatest things on a human being, is he's kind of dripping with humility. That's real. That's who he is. A lot of people can come across that way; CC is that. And it's why I think he's beloved in there but across the sport and really with anyone he comes in contact with.

But as far as a ballplayer, a competitor, and a teammate, it's hard to draw it up any better than CC Sabathia.

Q. From a team and a series perspective, when you were down 3-1 and it's going to take a big comeback, do you ever draw off of your own experiences as a player in the postseason or your father's or anything you've seen in the game to know it is possible at a time like that?
AARON BOONE: Probably.

Q. Have you?
AARON BOONE: In fact, Sweeney just reminded me the Brewers were playing my dad's team in '82. They were down 2-0. They came back and won 3-2. The Angels, my dad's team, were up 3-1 on the Red Sox in '86, and the Red Sox came back. I remember that well, I remember crying on my couch watching Game 7 in our house. I think the Cubs came back from 3-1 against the Indians.

Not just our sport but all kinds of sports are littered with stories of comebacks. So we know we're certainly capable of that. We have a tough task tonight against a great team and a great pitcher, and we'll look forward to going out and hopefully grabbing one and getting on a plane.

Q. Is Severino an option out of the bullpen tonight?
AARON BOONE: We'll see. We'll see. Had some very little conversation on that. And I haven't talked to Seve yet. I know the pitchers are out there throwing.

Probably not but we've got a few hours before the game to kind of talk through things. But I don't anticipate him.

Q. In Stanton's absence while he was hurt, it seems like in a number of these games you guys were one pitch or one hit away from breaking things open. What kind of advantage is that now with Encarnacion slumping as he was, to be able to insert him and hopefully maybe get a spark out of it?
AARON BOONE: That's a lot of times what the postseason is, the playoffs is. You've got to take advantage of opportunities. The last few days we haven't been able to do that, and it's been the difference in us winning, losing games.

Hopefully we create more opportunities. That's ultimately the goal is to create those opportunities. Now we've got to break through. And that's hard to do especially when you're facing good pitching and getting a hit is a failing proposition.

But the more opportunities we can create, hopefully we can break through with a couple and get on that plane.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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