— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) May 19, 2018
Inside the park home runs are rare, but for the New York Yankees and Aaron Hicks that is not the case in 2018.
Hicks hit a ball deep to right field forcing Kansas City Royals’ outfielder Jorge Soler to crash hard into the wall. The ball ended up caroming off the wall giving Hicks a chance to go off to the races and head home. He would score and give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead.
This isn’t the first time that Hicks has done this during the 2018 season. In an April 13 game against the Detroit Tigers, Hicks hit a ball out to deep centerfield and he used his jets to make it all the way home.
The home run also put Hicks in some elite company. He became the first Yankee since Mickey Mantle in 1958 to hit multiple inside the park home runs in a single season.
Aaron Hicks is 1st Yankee with multiple Inside The Park HR in same season since Mickey Mantle in 1958
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 19, 2018
Mantle finished with 42 home runs and drove in 97 RBI that year leading the Yankees to their 18th World Championship.
Entering play Saturday night, Hicks had been struggling. He was hitting .230 with three home runs and 15 RBI. The month of May also hasn’t been kind to the 28-year-old outfielder. With a batting average of .229 he has found himself searching for answers.
As the season progresses, the Yankees are going to need Hicks to become the type of player he was in 2017. The player that forced their hand and took the starting centerfield job away from veteran Jacoby Ellsbury.
You have to wonder with the addition of Clint Frazier if Hicks had a small fire lit under him. Even though we know Frazier is not here for the long-term, we’ve seen Aaron Boone and the Yankees reward players who have played well. Just look at Miguel Andujar and Brandon Drury. Andujar has taken away the starting third-base job from Drury who was out with an injury. Part of you has to wonder if it can happen with Hicks.
The home run was Hicks’ first home run since May 12, and the Yankees hope it’s the first of many more to come this year.
The Yankees and Royals are tied at two in the top of the fourth inning.