The New York Yankees have been dropping like flies in recent weeks after a strenuous spring training program. Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellbury, Estevan Florial, and now Dellin Betances have all been forced out due to injury.
Hicks received his first cortisone shot several weeks ago after feeling stiffness in his back but wasn’t fully ready to continue baseball activities. Since then, he’s been ruled out for the season opener and will require more time to heal. On Tuesday, though, he received a second cortisone shot that saw him take a major recovery step.
New York Yankees: Aaron Hicks’ return is imminent
“Right now I feel great. I’ve got no pain right now,” Hicks said, according to ESPN. “I’m walking around and doing all my core stuff, and my bike has been great. I did 20 minutes on the bike [Tuesday], and it went well. I feel like I’m doing well.”
Since February 27th, Hicks has been sidelined with the ailment and has struggled to even swing a bat. He cut several batting practices short before deciding to shut down completely.
“I came to spring training ready to go, ready to start the season strong and to just play as many games as I can,” Hicks said. “To kind of have spring training be cut short for me and prevent me from getting ready for this season kind of sucks.
What’s next for the Yankees and Hicks?
Now that the centerfielder is prepared to take his next steps towards being fully activated, we can assume his timetable for return has been decreased. It’s possible he returns by the end of March, but I would anticipate early April since he will need time to catch up on his spring program.
In the meantime, veteran outfielder Brett Gardner will fill in and man the center field position while Hicks progresses. Gardner will act as the 4th outfielder this upcoming season and provide value as a rotational player that can fill in due to injury or fatigue.
Gardner’s defense is solid but his offensive production has declined in recent years. The Yankees will need him to step up in Hicks’ absence.