Yankees' Aaron Boone explains why Mike Tauchman is taking ground balls at first base

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Scott Thompson
·3 min read
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Mike Tauchman blasts solo homer vs. Tigers
Mike Tauchman blasts solo homer vs. Tigers

Mike Tauchman at first base?

During his presser just one day away from Opening Day, Yankees manager Aaron Boone addressed a question regarding Tauchman taking ground balls at the position during the team’s workout on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. Boone actually wanted to play Tauchman at first base before the Yanks headed back to New York.

“We were actually going to get him in the last couple days [of spring training], but he fouled the ball off his shin on whatever Sunday, the second-to-last day,” he told reporters via Zoom. “So we took him out of that game. I was probably going to put him at first the last few innings.

“It’s something he’s been doing on the back fields, taking some ground balls. Whether I put him in there or not, we’ll see.”

Jay Bruce made the Yankees’ roster, so he’ll more than likely be pegged to start first base with Luke Voit out. But, as Boone said, defensive versatility goes a long way as a bench player and Tauchman is working to make sure he can play something other than the outfield.

Aaron Judge is good to go

It was slightly concerning that Judge hasn’t played in a game since last Friday, to which Boone responded earlier by saying he was “under the weather.” COVID-19 tests came back negative for Judge, and his skipper expects him to be good to go on Thursday.

“He’s good to go. Looks great. Looked great in BP,” Boone said.

Lucas Luetge makes the team

It felt like a given after what he did during spring training, shutting down hitters left and right. But Boone confirmed that the veteran lefty has earned a spot in the bullpen. The 34-year-old owned a 1.74 ERA over 10.1 innings down in Florida.

“Happy to report that Lucas is on our team. Obviously came into camp, had some expectations around him. But frankly, there was a lot of really good competition. Frankly, better competition than I feel like we had in the last several years and there were a lot of different ways we were considering going for that spot. But hard to deny what Lucas was able to come in from the start of camp and push his way on the roster, earn his spot, and excited to see what he can potentially do for us.”

What Opening Day means to him

Boone has been around Opening Day since he was born, with his father, Bob, playing for the Phillies at the time and having a role either as a player or manager all the way up to 2003. So Opening Day is a “holiday” to Boone when you ask about it.

It means a lot, it’s special,” he explained. “I think back to my first Opening Day and my dad sending me like a telegram before text messages and all that. Just with a message of ‘Good luck, spit in their eye, go get ‘em.’ It’s a celebration of our sport and a sport I’ve loved my entire life.”