Slowly but surely the Yankees are getting healthy. Aaron Hicks will be the next injured star to find himself back in the Bronx.
Aaron Hicks signed a big extension for the Yankees in the offseason but back pain has forced him to miss every game of the 2019 regular season thus far. Fortunately for manager Aaron Boone, he’s about to get his starting center fielder back into the lineup.
The organization’s plan is for Hicks to play three rehabilitation games in the Minor Leagues this weekend and for him to return to the Majors on Monday. He may not jump right back into Boone’s starting lineup immediately, but it’s safe to assume he’ll start to get regular at-bats to help bolster the Yankees offense.
Hicks’ return to the active roster is going to leave general manager Brian Cashman with an interesting decision to make. The scouting department seems to be high on Mike Tauchman, but he’s really struggled to hit during his time with the big-league club. Cameron Maybin was originally brought in as an emergency option after a rash of injuries hit the outfield, but he’s hitting .321 in 11 games. That’s a significant upgrade over Tauchman’s batting average of just .203.
Add in Maybin’s speed and it seems more likely that he’ll stick with the club as Boone’s extra outfielder in the near-term. In truth, the Yankees hope this decision doesn’t matter for very much longer. The hope is that Giancarlo Stanton will return within the next few weeks, as well. Once he’s back on the main roster, Boone should be set to go with an outfield quartet of Hicks, Gardner, Frazier and Stanton until he can add Aaron Boone back into the mix.
No matter what, Hicks’ return will be a welcome sight for a team that can really use the addition of a plus defender in the outfield. In particular, Frazier’s struggles to man right field adequately have been an issue for the Yankees as of late. Getting Hicks back in center field as an above-average defender should lessen the pressure on both of New York’s corner outfield spots.
Of course, the organization also hopes that Hicks can boost the offense. His patience at the plate should help the Yankees get more base runners in front of their power hitters. Hicks doesn’t always put up great numbers from the lead-off spot, but he does get on base at a prodigious clip. Boone and company will be very happy to see him back in New York on Monday.