The New York Yankees might be down 2-1 in the ALCS, but manager Aaron Boone sees a bright spot in a few Aaron Hicks at-bats.
Hicks walked twice in his four times up in Game 3, both passes coming against Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole. It was only Hicks’ second game back from a flexor strain that had sidelined him since the first week of August.
Following the game, Boone told the New York Post’s Dan Martin that he was “encouraged” by Hicks’ performance.
Boone also told Martin he was impressed by his center fielder’s 0-for-1 contribution in the second game of the series:
“I feel good about the fact that he got in there in Game 2 and felt like he had a really good at-bat, a very Aaron Hicks-like at-bat, where he’s taking pitches with ease. He hit the ball hard.”
RT YESNetwork "Aaron Hicks on ALCS Game 3: "It's definitely frustrating. We had opportunities to get runs in." pic.twitter.com/Dj7W7y5F9Y"
— Pinstripe Road Trip (@YankeeOnTheRoad) October 16, 2019
Part of Boone’s excitement about Hicks’ play likely stems from the fact that the second-year skipper needs a replacement for Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton injured his right quadriceps running out a single in the Yankees’ Game 1 victory. Boone told New York Post reporter George A. King III on Wednesday that there’s no timeline for the slugger’s return:
“… I’m not sure [about putting him in the lineup]. I’m not really close to making that decision yet. That will be something that we kind of work through [Wednesday] and possibly even into [Thursday] before I make that decision.’’
Any plans the Bombers had for easing Hicks back into the starting lineup in time for the World Series are now moot. Aaron Hicks is a necessity, rust and all.