Will Yankees’ Aaron Hicks be able to build on his extra-base hit against Rays?

Aaron Hicks of the New York Yankees is after hitting an extra-base hit against the Rays on Mya 7, 2023, at Tropicana Field.
AP
Michael Bennington
Monday May 8, 2023

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — On Sunday, Aaron Hicks showed glimpses of improvement that might help him maintain his roster position for the time being. The outfielder finally had an extra-base hit this season. The Yankees had a six-run lead thanks to an RBI double, but ultimately lost 8-7 to the Rays in extra innings at Tropicana Field.

“I’m feeling better at the plate,” said Aaron Hicks, who went a batting line of 1-for-4 with a walk, which helped increase his batting average to .143 and OPS to .374. “Been making better contact. Now it’s all about getting hits and results.”

Aaron Hicks struggles for survival

Aaron Hicks, who had only recorded seven singles in his previous 52 at-bats this season, finally came through in a key moment during Sunday’s game against the Rays. In the fourth inning, while batting right-handed (which has been more successful for him this season) with a runner on first and one out, Aaron Hicks hit a double down the third-base line, driving in Jose Trevino and extending the Yankees’ lead to 4-0.

In the 10th inning, Aaron Hicks was placed on second base due to the extra-innings rule. He then found himself in a difficult situation between third base and home during a contact play. Manager Aaron Boone praised Aaron Hicks for handling the situation correctly.

Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge at Yankee Stadium in 2022.

Assuming no more injuries occur, the Yankees will have to create a vacancy on Tuesday as they prepare to reinstate Aaron Judge from the injury list. They have several options to do this, including sending Oswald Peraza or Oswaldo Cabrera down to the Triple-A league. However, they might also consider designating Aaron Hicks for assignment, even though he has three years remaining on his contract, which amounts to around $30 million.

“We’ll make the best decision that we think is best for the team,” Boone said before the game.

According to Josh Donaldson, who has been dealing with a hamstring strain, he had a light day on Sunday but plans to increase his baseball activities in the coming week. He stated that his next step will be to perform heavy workouts on consecutive days, with acceleration, deceleration, and base running, and then to repeat that after a rest day. He also mentioned that this could be the last hurdle he needs to clear before starting a rehab assignment.

“I think re-tweaking it [last month] probably wasn’t ideal, but it’s set me back a little bit longer than I wanted it to,” Donaldson said. “So yeah, trying to be cautious with it.”

Boone focuses on strategy

In the top of the ninth inning, Michael King entered the game to face the Rays’ batting order. After pitching 1 2/3 innings the night before, this was the first time he has pitched on one day’s rest all season. Around a single, he struck out three times.

For the second day in a row, Clay Holmes tossed an inning in which no runs were scored. In that inning, he threw two strikes.

Boone said that the Yankees would continue to change things up in the late games. It was the first time Isiah Kiner-Falefa had started in right field on Sunday, although he played three innings there the previous day after Harrison Bader replaced him in center field. It was also Kiner-Falefa’s first start in right field at any affiliated baseball level.

For the first time since April 13, Cabrera also got the assignment at third base. He went 2-for-3 with a double and a sacrifice fly.

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