For as much grief as Greg Bird gets from the Yankees faithful, center fielder Aaron Hicks deserves much of the same, considering he’ll miss at least the next 10 days due to a strained right intercostal muscle.
I intended to write an article detailing all the wonderful occurrences from the Yankees 6-1 opening day victory against the Blue Jays. I mean, it was a splendid display on both sides of the ball by the boys in gray.
From Giancarlo Stanton mashing a pair of monster home runs to Luis Severino’s stellar 5.2 innings pitched of shutout ball while striking out seven, the Yanks were clicking on all cylinders.
Even the much-maligned Dellin Betances threw for strikes, though, he was bailed out by a pair of dazzling plays by Tyler Wade and Neil Walker.
Unfortunately, not even a full 24 hours of revelry could pass before the Bombers placed one of their starting nine on the disabled list.
To the surprise of everyone that watched Thursday afternoon’s affair from Toronto, Aaron Hicks was placed on the 10-day DL with a right intercostal strain.
Club officials are unsure how or when the 28-year-old suffered the injury, especially since he finished the entirety of the game going 2-for-4.
Manager Aaron Boone is now forced to move some of his chess pieces across the board, as Brett Gardner, who hit a solo shot in the top of the seventh-inning, will likely shift over to center field.
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Although the Yankees did recall No. 19 prospect Billy McKinney from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, we won’t know how much of the field he sees until Boone gives us an inclination, perhaps as early as Friday night.
If McKinney is merely a placeholder on the 25-man roster, does that mean that Stanton, who famously had a defensive gaffe during Spring Training, will man left field for the foreseeable future?
Since the Yankees first acquired Stanton, I’ve always felt it would be a cleaner transition for the younger and slightly more athletic Aaron Judge to play left, while keeping Stanton in his traditional right field.
What started out as a crowded outfield just six weeks ago now looks like a mash unit. It’s too bad because it would have been super advantageous to see what Clint Frazier could do hitting in this lineup or even Jacoby Ellsbury for that matter.
Imagine if Ellsbury did well and actually built up some trade value? I know, it’s a pipe dream.
As for Hicks, whose coming off an 88-game injury plagued 2017 season, our patience is beginning to wear thin. Much like Bird, you can have all the potential in the world, but what good is it if you can’t stay healthy?
For now, the Yanks will be hard-pressed to replicate the defensive prowess Hicks brings to the table. However, if the Yanks can pitch and hit the way they did on opening day, something tells me they’ll be fine until one of their center fielders returns to full action.
Remember, the club was without Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez for the first month of ’17 and still managed to go 21-9.