NEW YORK — When Aaron Hicks popped out in the fifth inning on Wednesday night, the crowd at Yankee Stadium collective groaned.
To say Hicks has been going through a rough patch at the plate to start this season would be an understatement. The center fielder entered play on Wednesday with the second-lowest average on the team (.163), falling out of the three spot in the order.
After skying out to shortstop in the fifth, Hicks had just eight hits over his previous 58 at-bats, lowering his average in that span to .136.
Those numbers aren't pretty, but over his last few games, Hicks has quietly started to break out of his early-season slump. His final two at-bats on Wednesday night provided even more proof that the outfielder is beginning to produce.
After ripping a double into the right-field corner in the sixth, Hicks stepped up with an opportunity to give New York the lead in a tie game in the bottom of the eighth. Flipping over to the right side, Hicks poked a single into shallow right, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead.
"Do what I have to get the guy in," Hicks said after the game about his approach in that at-bat. "I was looking for something middle away, I got a changeup up in the zone and was able to keep it in play down the line."
New York wound up scoring two more runs in the frame, closing out a 6-3 victory over the Houston Astros in the Bronx, their fifth win in a row.
With two more base knocks on Wednesday, Hicks is now slashing .353/.450/.647 (6-for-17) with four runs, two doubles, one homer, three RBI and two walks over his last five games.
Perhaps the 11-game hitting streak that designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton is on—and an ice-cold stretch from outfielder Clint Frazier and first baseman Mike Ford—are taking the focus away from Hicks. Either way, he still has a long way to go before he wins back the fans in the Bronx, producing the type of numbers that he's capable of, but these last few games have certainly been a step in the right direction.
Asked whether or not he feels some momentum building at the plate, Hicks didn't hesitate.
"Definitely," he said. "I've been having some pretty good at-bats where I've been hitting the ball hard. And that's pretty much all I can do. After I hit and make contact, I have no more control over it. So it was nice to go out there and get a double today, left-handed. I felt like I saw the ball well today from both sides of the plate and I definitely think I'm trending in the right direction."
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