aaron hicks yankees
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees opened up their 2023 season at home by taking two of three games from the San Francisco Giants. There were a lot of good things to take away from that performance as they prepared to host the Phillies in the Bronx. However, outfielder Aaron Hicks was left feeling confused and a little frustrated about his role on the squad.

He received just one at-bat during the Yankees’ three-game set. It was a pinch-hitting appearance during Saturday’s 7-5 loss. When asked about that by Brendan Kuty of The Athletic, here’s part of what he said:

I have no idea what my role is. It’s kind of uncertain.

I just want to play. I don’t want to come off the bench and face closers all day. I want to play the field, I want to play every day, and it’s just what I want to do. I want to start. I really don’t know what else to say.

Manager Aaron Boone said he planned on getting Hicks into the lineup within the next couple of days. He also talked about the outfielder’s role on the club on Monday night, which is very much undefined (quotes via SNY):

The role can evolve and change, and every opportunity and — from my standpoint — trying to put him in positions where I feel like he can impact us and be the most successful. So try and communicate ahead of time that he’s in there or he’s not, things like that, but I don’t want to also tell him, ‘You’re in a reserve role here or you’re the starter,’ because that’s not the reality.

I mean, the reality is our roster continues to evolve and change a little bit and we’ll eventually get Harrison (Bader) back and you lose a guy here and a role changes like that. So I try and communicate ahead of time as much as I can with what I’m thinking and that’s the role right now is just be ready to go.

Hicks did get the start on Monday against Philadelphia. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. One can assume Boone will try and find spots to put Hicks in where he can be successful — after all, that’s the manager’s job. However, it’s also his job to put the guys out there that give the Yankees their best chance to win.

Sometimes that could be Hicks, but more often than not, it could be someone else. What’s the key to him getting more opportunities to play? Well, it’s quite simple — play well during the chances he’s given and he’ll get penciled into the lineup more often:

I mean, we’ve had our conversations. But, again … the last few weeks of spring training, I feel like he was doing a lot of really good things on both sides of the ball. So bottom line is that — continue to play like I know that he’s capable of and you earn more and more opportunities. But there are competition for those things right now.

That’s probably the nicest way Boone could’ve said it. I mean, they’re not running a charity. Baseball is a “What have you done for me lately” kind of business, and even more so when you play in New York.

It’s not easy for a dude who is used to playing every day to be put in a role where he doesn’t know if he’ll play, or even get consistent at-bats. However, his recent performance (.220/.334/.367 triple slash since 2019) has forced the Yankees to take that approach. Now, he needs to figure out how to get the job done with the opportunities he’s given. And if things go well, Hicks will get more of them. If ie doesn’t…well, we know what happens from there.

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You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.