After undergoing Tommy John surgery back on October 30th Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks has begun his throwing program according to manager Aaron Boone.
The Yankees are one of the teams who should benefit the most from the season being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. They’re a team that was plagued by injuries throughout the offseason and spring training yet again, but by the time MLB is cleared to begin the season, there’s a good chance their roster will almost be back at full strength.
Giancarlo Stanton will be ready to play and that could be the case for Aaron Judge and James Paxton as well. In all likelihood, Hicks won’t be in the Opening Day lineup, but he won’t miss nearly as much of the season as originally expected.
On Tuesday Boone spoke to some of the Yankee beat writers and revealed Hicks has started his throwing program at his home in Arizona. No timetable was given for when he might be ready to return to action, but it’s encouraging news to read nonetheless.
Hicks has struggled to stay healthy since signing a big seven-year, $70M extension with the Yanks last spring. He started last year on the IL with a back injury he suffered less than a week after signing his big deal and than in early August, he went down with a right flexor strain in his elbow.
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He was expected to miss the rest of the season, but he surprisingly returned for the ALCS and fought through the pain to make a big impact against the Astros. Unfortunately, him coming back for the playoffs probably led to him ultimately needing surgery.
Assuming all goes well for Hicks throughout the remainder of the rehab process his timetable for a return could be similar to Didi Gregorius’ a season ago when he came back from TJ surgery. Didi also had the surgery shortly after the Yanks were eliminated from the postseason and was able to make his season debut on June 7th after starting his rehab assignment on May 25th.
Right now it doesn’t look like the season is going to start by the time June 7th rolls around this year which is a total bummer, but that’s good news for Hicks. Given the circumstances, he probably won’t be ready to play in a big-league game by the first week of June but he could be 100% healthy by then.
The tricky thing is we have no idea when MLB will resume operations so there’s no telling when Hicks could start playing in rehab games to get himself the reps he’ll definitley need. The same goes for Judge and Paxton.
Hopefully, this all ends sooner rather than later but in the meantime, Hicks seems like he’s a track to play the majority of the 2020 season which would be huge for the Yanks.