Yankees: Aaron Hicks Expected to Be Ready for Opening Day

Aaron Hicks #31 of the New York Yankees hits a RBI single to right field. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Aaron Hicks #31 of the New York Yankees hits a RBI single to right field. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees could surprisingly see outfielder Aaron Hicks in the lineup come Opening Day later this month.

When Major League Baseball suspended Spring Training and the start of the regular season due to the global pandemic back in March, the New York Yankees were an obvious pick as a team that would benefit from the layoff.

At the time, manager Aaron Boone’s side was dealing with a rash of injuries to key players, including outfielder Aaron Hicks, who was still recovering from Tommy John surgery he underwent in late October.

The initial recovery timetable revealed that Hicks, in the best-case scenario, would be able to return by mid-July. Well, in a delightful turn of events, that is indeed the case. The 30-year-old is actually expected to be ready by Opening Day on July 23.

It’s worth noting that Hicks revealed he’s not yet 100%, but also acknowledged that he’s getting stronger with each passing day. In fact, the only thing preventing the former No. 14 overall pick from playing without limits is his throwing, for obvious reasons.

“It’s just inconsistent with throwing,” Hicks told reporters at Yankee Stadium over the weekend. “When you don’t have to worry about it, it always comes out the same. But coming back from Tommy John, there are just days where it just doesn’t come out. You’re trying to throw as hard as you can. You’re trying to throw to a certain speed and it’s just not coming out.”

Fans in the Bronx shouldn’t be discouraged by that quote. Hicks’ arm strength was always going to be the last to be fully restored. What matters is that he’s nearing full strength, which he hasn’t been since his career-best season in 2018, when he hit .248/.366/.467 with 27 home runs, 79 RBI and an .833 OPS.

The Yankees are clearly a better team when Hicks is in the lineup, and, as things currently stand, it would be a surprise if he wasn’t in Boone’s card when Opening Day arrives in a few weeks’ time. If you told us that a month ago, we probably would have laughed in your face.

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