Sports

Steinbrenner backs Boone to return as manager

TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner plans to keep Aaron Boone as his manager.

“As far as Boone’s concerned, we just signed him and for all the same reasons I listed a year ago, I believe he is a very good manager,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday as he left the Yankees player development complex. “I don’t see a change there.”

Boone agreed last October to a three-year deal with a team option for 2025. In his fifth season as manager, New York sprinted to a 61-23 record in early July, sparking comparison with the 1998 champion Yankees. But hampered by injuries, the Yankees went 38-40 the rest of the way.

Cleveland extended the Division Series to five games before New York was swept in four games by Houston in the AL Championship Series.

“We didn’t get the job done … it’s time to get it done,” Steinbrenner said. “Any time we don’t win a championship, it’s a disappointing year. We had a lot of good ups, we had some downs, we had some injuries like everybody else.”

“But you’ve got to give it to the Astros,” Steinbrenner added. “They’re a very good team top to bottom. We just didn’t bring our ‘A’ game.”

The Yankees have not appeared in the World Series since winning their 27th championship in 2009.

New York was without table-setters DJ LeMahieu, who may need toe surgery, and Andrew Benintendi, recovering from wrist surgery, in the postseason.

Steinbrenner declined to address the pending free agency of outfielder Aaron Judge.

In the hours before opening day, Judge turned down a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29, choosing instead to remain eligible for free agency after the World Series.

He set an American League record with 62 homers, tied for the major league lead with 131 RBI and finished second in the AL with a .311 batting average. But he hit just .139 with three RBI and 15 strikeouts in the postseason, going 1 for 16 (.063) with no RBI against the Astros.

Steinbrenner spent Monday at Yankee Stadium with general manager Brian Cashman for early discussions about the upcoming offseason.

“We haven’t talked about anything yet,” Steinbrenner said. “Cash and I had some preliminary conversions.”

Cashman, the GM since 1998, is finishing a five-year contract.

In addition to Judge, pitcher Jameson Taillon, Benintendi and utilitymen Matt Carpenter and Marwin Gonzalez are eligible for free agency along with relievers Chad Green, Miguel Castro, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman.

Green (Tommy John surgery), Britton (setback following Tommy John surgery), Michael King (fractured elbow) and Ron Marinaccio (shin) were key relievers sidelined during the playoffs.

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