New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced on Wednesday that he is taking a leave of absence from the club to have a medical procedure to install a pacemaker.
“As many of you know, I underwent open-heart surgery in 2009, and I wanted everyone to understand where I’m at regarding the procedure that’s taking place today,” Boone said in a press release. .“Over the last six-to-eight weeks, I’ve had mild symptoms of lightheadedness, low energy, and shortness of breath. As a result, I underwent a series of tests and examinations in New York prior to the beginning of Spring Training, including multiple visits with a team of heart specialists. While the heart checkup came back normal, there were indications of a low heart rate which, after further consultations with doctors in Tampa, necessitates a pacemaker.”
Boone will have surgery later today at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, FL, and will be out for several days. Bench coach Carlos Mendoza will handle the managing duties until he returns, which should be well in advance of Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on April 1.
“My faith is strong, and my spirits are high. I’m in a great frame of mind because I know I’m in good hands with the doctors and medical staff here at St. Joseph’s Hospital. They are confident that today’s surgery will allow me to resume all of my usual professional and personal activities and afford me a positive long-term health prognosis without having to change anything about my way of life. I look forward to getting back to work in the next several days, but during my short-term absence, I have complete trust that our coaches, staff, and players will continue their training and preparation at the same level as we’ve had and without any interruption.”
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was baseball’s top-rated prospect in 2019 and expected to be a future cornerstone for the Toronto Blue Jays, but he underwhelmed in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, hitting .262 with nine home runs and adjusting to a shift from third to first base.
The 21-year-old aspired to play third base like his idol Adrian Beltre, but the power hitter was playing around 250 lbs. last season. Guerrero came to spring training claiming that lost 42 pounds over the winter in hopes that he can fulfill his potential.
“I came to spring training out of shape for a couple of years,” Guerrero said last week at the club’s facility in Dunedin, Florida. “One day at my house in the Dominican I just sat down and thought about all this. I decided right then that I was going to get ready, I was going to prepare myself, I was going to work very hard for this year. I did because my main focus is just to be ready and help the team win.”
Guerrero is surrounded by quality hitters in the Jays lineup in Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Teoscar Hernandez, and Toronto added infielder Marcus Semien and George Springer in free agency. If the slugger can have a big year and the Blue Jays can get more from a revamped pitching staff, they could provide the Yankees some competition in the AL East.