The New York Yankees are last in the American League East and seven games out of the final wild-card spot with 40 games left to play, but manager Aaron Boone told his players in a team meeting Friday night that “this thing is not over.”
Boone, speaking to reporters before Saturday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, said his players are “definitely wearing it” after going 6-14 since star Aaron Judge returned from the injured list July 28.
“I talked with the team last night,” Boone said. “But try and keep consistent in what we do and how we prepare, and look forward to [Saturday] being the day you start turning things around. That’s how you got to kind of look at it.
“Not fun going through this, right? But I feel like we’re OK. And I do feel like the turnaround is coming.”
Boone said he told his players he understands the various issues that the team has faced of late, especially injuries, but to try to balance their competitive edge along with playing the game for the right reasons.
The Yankees (60-62) have their worst record this late in a season since the 1995 campaign.
“Remembering to make sure [you] don’t lose sight of the fact why you started playing this game, either,” Boone said he told the players. “That’s because it was fun and you were probably pretty good at it. Don’t lose sight of that, especially when it’s hard.
“… Come in with that edge, that little chip on your shoulder, ready to prepare and work. But when it comes time to play, go out there and have fun playing the game.”
Boone said that it’s his job as manager to “paint the picture that this thing is not over.”
“We have 40 games left and there’s not just occasional, there’s a lot of examples — a lot of recent examples even — of teams turning it around,” Boone said. “Now, I also recognize we haven’t put ourselves in any kind of position or certainly given anyone a thought like why we would get back into it. But neither had those teams when they made their runs or when they got going.
“So the reality is we still have a chance, and we’ve got to kind of prepare and compete every day with a mind that today’s the day we turn it around.”