Spring Training 2024: Manager Aaron Boone says the Yankees are `hell bent on being a champion’ this season

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone speaks to reporters before a Game 4 of an American League Championship baseball series at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

TAMPA, Fla, (AP) — Aaron Boone says his New York Yankees are “hell bent on being a champion” after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

New York started spring training Wednesday still in search of its first title since 2009. The Yankees went 82-20 last year, nearly finishing with a losing record for the first time 1992.

“Last year was not anything anyone in this organization wants or demands or expects,” the manager said Wednesday. “I would say we have poured into that. From ownership, to the front office, to the coaches and staff, all the way to the players, that I do feel like we have prepared properly. We are ready to roll.”

Boone revealed right-hander Scott Effross had a setback in his return from Tommy John surgery on Oct. 13, 2022, and probably won’t be available for the Yankees until summer. Effross had back surgery in early December and started a throwing program last week.

Catcher Jose Trevino strained a calf muscle and will miss the first couple of weeks of spring training games. Boone is hopeful Trevino will be ready for opening day.

In addition, reliever Lou Trivino was in camp and agreed to a $1.5 million, one-year contract with a club option for 2025. He had Tommy John surgery last May 3.

New York hopes to revive an offense that was 29th in the major leagues in batting average last season at .227. The team acquired outfielders Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo in trades. Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo all were slowed by injuries last year.

“We’ve got to go prove it,” Boone said. “So, I think we have a chance to be a really special team. That’s all it is, right? We’ve got to go show the world that we’re as good as we think we can be.

Boone compared last year to getting sand kicked in the face.

“You know, obviously, going through what we went through last year as a club, nobody wants that ever again, and that really left a sour taste,” Boone said. “I do feel like we have a group that is always really focused and diligent on preparing and getting ready to go out and have a great season. But I do think there’s another level of edge and focus to not wanting to have that happen again, and we have a lot of guys with pride in there.”

TRIVINO RETURNING

Trivino, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since Game 3 of the 2022 AL Championship Series. The 32-year-old right-hander was acquired by the Yankees from Oakland on Aug. 1, 2022, in the deal that brought Frankie Montas to New York, another pitcher who got hurt.

Trivino can earn performance bonuses this year of $100,000 each for appearing in 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 games. His deal includes a $5 million club option for 2025 with escalators and additional bonus opportunities that year.

To make room for Trivino on the 40-man roster, outfielder Jasson Domínguez was placed on the 60-day injured list while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

TOP OF THE LINEUP

Boone feels LeMahieu, slowed by foot injuries, is ready to be a force in the leadoff spot again. Verdugo could see time there, as well.

“I feel like if that leadoff spot gets settled, then we have a chance to be a really special offense,” Boone said.

PITCHER SWAP

New York acquired lefty Clayton Andrews from Milwaukee for minor league right-hander Joshua Quezada.

Andrews, designated for assignment last week, made four relief appearances for the Brewers last season and allowed 11 runs — 10 earned — over 3 1/3 innings. He spent most of 2023 at Triple-A Nashville and went 6-0 with a 2.53 ERA and five saves in 48 games.

Quezada, 19, made his pro debut in 2023 with the rookie-level DSL Yankees, going 6-0 with a 3.69 ERA in four starts and seven relief appearances.

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