Michael Kay returned to the Yankees TV booth Saturday after vocal cord surgery left him sidelined for more than a month, and had only one request before taking back the microphone.
“‘Try to have the guys not hit six home runs,’ ” Kay recalled telling Yankees manager Aaron Boone, as he began YES Network’s Yankees-Indians pregame broadcast. “I’ve been told maybe don’t try to push it.”
Kay, 58, had been silenced for five weeks after having a nodule — a callus-like condition most commonly associated with singers — removed from his vocal cord.
YES Network’s Ryan Ruocco handled most of Kay’s assignments during his absence, while John Flaherty and Ken Singleton also filled in. Even the legendary Bob Costas made a cameo for two games as part of a Yankee-Red Sox doubleheader earlier this month.
“Almost like the Yankees next man up,” Kay said, referencing the Yankees’ rash of injuries and replacements.
“But it makes you feel, not to get too philosophical, when people die the party goes on,” Kay said. “Cemeteries are filled with indispensable people. So you sit there at home and you go, you know what, this can be done without me. So you get a little sad and you wonder if you’re going to be able to come back.
Kay got the OK from his doctor on Tuesday, but said he wanted to wait a few days as his voice kept cracking.
“I was excited walking [into Yankee Stadium],” Kay said. “A little emotional, there’s some anxiety as well. You just don’t know if the voice is going to hold up.”
Kay will return to his 98.7 ESPN New York radio show on Aug. 26, but said he will wait about a week before working both the radio show and Yankees on the same day, as he has done in the past.