NEW YORK (AP)Luis Rojas says it was an easy decision to put on Yankees pinstripes so soon after getting dismissed by the New York Mets.
”There wasn’t any second thought,” he said.
Let go last month after his second year of managing the Mets, Rojas was announced Monday as the Yankees’ new third base coach.
Rojas talked to a few teams, he said Tuesday on a Zoom call, but quickly found a match with manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees.
”I know the city. My wife loves the city. My son loves the city. There’s personal stuff that we have in the city, too, from a personal standpoint that matters to us. The Yankees organization and the tradition,” he said.
Rojas’ father, Felipe Alou, played three seasons with the Yankees. His uncle, the late Matty Alou, spent part of a year in the Bronx.
Rojas coached third base a lot as a minor league manager for the Mets. His duties with the Yankees will include working with the outfielders.
The 40-year-old Rojas said he was familiar with some of the Yankees players and staff. He managed in a South Atlantic League All-Star Game on a team that included Aaron Judge.
”I’m sure I’m not going to be a stranger coming into the clubhouse Day One,” he said.
Rojas said after getting hired by the Mets, Boone was the first manager who called him. The respect between the skippers grew over the last two years.
Boone said the interview process was swift. The sides came an agreement about a week ago.
”I think all of our group kind of fell in love with him as far as everyone kind of giving the thumbs-up,” he said.
Rojas said called it a ”pretty healthy process” involving a large group.
”A lot of questions from different angles, different areas of the game that are real. A lot of new questions, analytical questions, personal questions, baseball questions, you name it.”
The Mets declined their 2022 option for Rojas on Oct. 4, a day after they finished 77-85 and third in NL East.
Rojas replaces Phil Nevin, who had been the Yankees’ third base coach since 2018. He was dismissed shortly after he waved home Judge in a key spot in the AL wild-card game at Fenway Park — Judge was easily thrown out, and Boston went on to win.
The Yankees tied with Kansas City for making the most outs at the plate this season with 22.
Several Mets stars found success in the past after leaving Queens for the Bronx, including David Cone, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. Former Mets player and manager Joe Torre went on to win four World Series championships guiding the Yankees.
Yankees great Yogi Berra was fired after his team lost the 1964 World Series and became a player/coach for the Mets the next season.
NOTES: Boone said the Yankees are ”getting close” to filling out their staff with a new hitting coach and first base coach, among other slots. … OF Aaron Hicks, who had season-ending wrist surgery in May, is ”in position” to play winter ball, Boone said. Boone said no final decision has been made on whether Hicks will play this winter. … RHP Jameson Taillon, who had surgery on his right ankle in October, appears to be on track to be able to pitch by early April, Boone said.
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