Yankees' outfielder Aaron Hicks has begun to throw for the first time since Tommy John surgery last fall.
Skipper Aaron Boone confirmed on Wednesday that Hicks has resumed throwing at home in Arizona.
The outfielder had the operation done on his right elbow just days after the Yankees were eliminated from postseason contention last October.
Earlier this spring, Boone explained the timetable for Hicks' return will be similar to that of former Yankees' shortstop Didi Gregorius – who underwent an identical procedure following the 2018 postseason and returned to the big-league club in early-June.
Hicks played in his final regular season game on August 3, rehabbing his right arm and working his way back because of how badly he wanted to be on the field in the playoffs. He was true to his word, appearing in five of the Yankees' six ALCS games against the Astros.
“I wanted to play so bad, and you never know when your next opportunity is to play in the postseason,” Hicks explained earlier this spring. “Something was already done to [my elbow], so I might as well go out there and try to help my team win. I felt like that's what I wanted to do."
Originally, there was no way Hicks would be ready for Opening Day. This spring, Boone had pinpointed a group including Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier, Miguel Andújar and even non-roster invitee Rosell Herrera as candidates to step up in the outfield in his absence.
Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the MLB season back indefinitely – potentially into this summer and beyond – Hicks may not miss that many games after all.
Speaking of outfielders recovering during the coronavirus-induced hiatus, Boone gave an update on the status of Aaron Judge.
“Aaron is still in the healing phase of that rib bone,” Boone told reporters like Bryan Hoch of MLB.com on a conference call Wednesday morning, referencing the stress fracture in Judge's first right rib. “I think he'll be re-evaluated again in a few weeks to see if there's continued healing with that rib. He's been able to work out, doing a lot of lower-body stuff. He is able to do some upper body stuff, some overhead things, so he's going in pretty much every day in Tampa there to continue his rehab.”
As for the health of Giancarlo Stanton – who also was ruled out of Opening Day before the season was postponed – Boone confirmed he has moved past his Grade 1 right calf strain and is good to go.
“He's pretty much over the hump,” Boone said.
In the meantime, with no Opening Day to be played on Thursday, Boone has plans to work on his own throwing program, keeping an important Yankee hurler loose during this extended offseason.
The skipper mentioned to the media that he plans on visiting New York's ace Gerrit Cole – who lives close to where Boone's family resides in Greenwich, Conn. On Sunday, Boone was behind the camera as Cole played catch with his wife Amy. Now, it's the former player's turn as he and his entire Yankees roster continues to adjust to the prospect of no Opening Day for the foreseeable future.
“It’s all been weird and an adjustment,” Boone explained to reporters. “In my personal bubble of the world, [there's] the frustration that you get so close to Opening Day and the start of the season, and it’s not here. All the work that goes into that, that’s disappointing, that’s frustrating. But you also temper it with, this is all bigger than me and us and baseball. Right now is the time to do our part.”
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