Cashman’s Aaron Boone defense of may not prevent Yankees changes

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BUFFALO — General manager Brian Cashman is searching for answers to explain why the Yankees are hovering around .500 and threatening to become also-rans in the AL East.

But he’s confident manager Aaron Boone and his coaching staff are not the problem.

“Losing invites scrutiny on us all,’’ Cashman said prior to Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field. “We are all in this together. We made this bed and we’re gonna sleep in it and make sure we find a way to fix this together.”

That goes for Boone, as well as hitting coach Marcus Thames, who also has taken heat for the lineup’s continued inability to produce on a consistent basis.

Cashman made it clear he was speaking only for himself and could be overruled by someone above him, but he made a point to note that in over two decades of running the Yankees, he has never fired a coach or manager during the season.

“We’ve had a lot of trials and tribulations and we’ve had roller-coaster rides,” Cashman said. “We’ve had underperformance on the major league roster from time to time and we’ve had a lot of success. We are in this together. It’s the same coaching staff and the same manager that’s had a lot of success here. Ultimately, we are charged with finding a way to fix what’s ailing us and that responsibility is on me and I don’t intend to let us fail.”

Brian Cashman (l) and Aaron Boone
Brian Cashman (l) and Aaron Boone

So far, there haven’t been any answers to explain why a typically fearsome offense has been middle of the pack — and that’s only because of some slight improvements of late.

Despite Cahsman’s insistence he isn’t going to fire anyone, he called the offense the team’s “biggest frustration” due to an “extended period of time of poor results from people capable of so much more.”

Cashman believes the lack of hitting is at least part of the reason the Yankees’ baserunning has been so bad, with players trying to do too much on the basepaths because runs are at a premium.

The Yankees entered Tuesday having been thrown out on the bases an MLB-high 31 times, uncharacteristic for the organization and an issue Cashman called “perplexing.”

But the offense will be the focus, because that is “supposed to be our calling card. Trying to figure that out has been a difficulty.”

Cashman said he will continue to look for ways to improve the roster, from finding a center fielder to replace Aaron Hicks, who is out for the season following wrist surgery, to looking at ways to improve all areas of the team.

“It’s frustrating,’’ Cashman said. “I certainly didn’t expect to be in this position at this stage. We have a lot of season left and a chance to fix it. It’s up to me to fix it.”

As the July 30 non-waiver trade deadline gets closer, Cashman said he expects more players to become available. If a high-priced addition becomes an option, he said he will go to ownership to see if that player is in the budget.

But Cashman added he continues to believe not only in Boone and his staff, but also in the roster he built.

“It is easy to throw somebody under the bus,’’ Cashman said. “It’s not something I believe in. It doesn’t mean I’m not willing to make changes if I felt they were warranted, but I don’t feel they’re warranted. This is something we all believed in when we started, but I also know I have to attack this with some urgency.”

Boone, asked if he felt pressure with the team underperforming and the GM making an appearance on the road, said he did.

“Certainly, I’m feeling the pressure,’’ the manager said. “It’s been a hard year. We got off to a very difficult start the first few weeks of the season. We righted the ship and then the last couple weeks have been tough. I wear that. I feel that. You care about what’s going on. You care about the guys in that room. I think you’re not human if you don’t feel that.”

Boone will get his chance to figure it out.

“We’ve got really good coaches that know what they’re doing and I think we have a really good manager who knows what he’s doing,’’ Cashman said. “That doesn’t mean you’re gonna get the results you want. You’ve got to stay at it. We’re in this together and I’m trying to figure this thing out. We have what it takes in this clubhouse already.”

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