New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone on Wednesday. Boone was born with a heart defect and had open heart surgery in 2009, when he was still an active player. He spent Wednesday night at the hospital, went home Thursday, and was already back at the team's spring training complex for COVID-19 testing Friday.
Here's what Boone told reporters, including ESPN's Marly Rivera, during a conference call Friday morning:
"I feel great. I can't believe how good I feel," Boone said in a videoconference call ahead of the Yankees-Tigers exhibition game Friday at Steinbrenner Field. "It makes me really glad that I got this done because, certainly in the last couple of months, I have not felt anywhere close to how I felt this morning. Really excited about it; excited to get back."
"Now that I've got (the pacemaker) it's made me realize that I wasn't feeling good, just energy level, just not myself. I felt like I had to reach for it every day in a way," Boone said. "And yesterday and even more so today, I just feel kind of ready to go and ready to kind of tackle things. (My cardiologist) said, 'this will be a pretty straightforward simple procedure, nothing like you've been through in the past. And it'll work right away, you'll notice it.' And he was right. I feel great."
Boone explained his symptoms lasted several weeks and included lightheadness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. His heart rate dipped into the 30 beats per minute range, which is dangerously low. The ideal resting heart rate sits in the 60-100 beats per minute range for healthy adults, and Boone says his pacemaker will kick in when his heart rate dips below 50-60 beats per minute.
Although needing a pacemaker sounds scary, it has become a fairly routine procedure in recent years, and it is not uncommon for recipients to return to work within a few days. Boone said he is looking forward to getting back on his exercise bike, among other things, and his only significant limitation will be avoiding heavy lifting with his left arm in the short-term.
To all of you that have reached out to me, prayed for me, or wished me well- THANK YOU! Support has been overwhelming and humbling. I feel great and can’t wait to be back real soon. ❤️ 🙏🏼— Aaron Boone (@AaronBoone) March 5, 2021
Boone, 48 next week, said he hopes to rejoin the Yankees this weekend, though he may not return to the dugout immediately. GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees will give Boone as much time as necessary to recover earlier this week.
"Now it comes down to intaking, making sure COVID-wise I'm good to go," Boone said Friday. "I think I'm ready to be in the dugout, but look, I'm not in any hurry. I feel like I can get a lot done and accomplish a lot just by being there. I have the utmost confidence in our guys. I have so much faith in our coaching staff."
Bench coach Carlos Mendoza has stepped in as interim manager during Boone's absence.