“We’ll see how that continues to unfold the next several days,” Boone said.
Tanaka, who returned to his native Japan soon after the season had been suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, was facing a pair of Yankees power hitters, Aaron Judge and Stanton, at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon as he threw in front of coaches for the first time in months.
But Tanaka had little time to react when Stanton, who hits the ball as hard as anyone in baseball, drilled a line drive toward the mound. The ball struck the right-handed Tanaka on the right side of the head, knocking him to the ground, where he lay for at least five minutes while cradling his head.
“It sucks to see something like that, especially during something as simple as a sim game,” outfielder Aaron Hicks said in a video news conference with reporters.
After the ball hit Tanaka, Stanton immediately crouched down and put his hand on his helmet, seemingly upset that he had hit hurt his teammate. With the Miami Marlins in 2014, Stanton sustained facial fractures and needed multiple dental procedures when he was hit in the left cheek by a pitch from Mike Fiers, then with the Milwaukee Brewers.
“It’s incredibly unfortunate what happened today,” Boone said. “In a lot of ways, we’re hopeful we avoided something really bad happening.”