Aaron Hicks returned from the disabled list on Tuesday with an eye on having a positive effect on the Yankees’ postseason run.
Making his first appearance since Sept. 2, Hicks walked three times and made a spectacular leaping catch in right-center field to rob Wilson Ramos of a grand slam in the first inning of a 6-1 win over the Rays.
“That was the difference in the game, what he did in the first inning,” Joe Girardi said. “Aaron can cover a lot of ground, and that saved the day. It’s important to get him back.”
Hicks, who had been sidelined with a left oblique strain after also missing more than six weeks earlier this summer with a right oblique strain, was replaced in center by Brett Gardner to start the seventh after he’d struck out the previous inning.
Aaron Hicks will spot the rest of the Yankees’ outfielders as he tries to get reps down the stretch.
But the versatile outfielder insisted he did not reinjure himself, and Girardi indicated an abridged night was the plan from the start. Girardi added that Hicks will continue to get regular at-bats over the final five games.
“Everything feels really good…It was fun,” Hicks said about his catch after the game. “I thought he hit it pretty well, but it kind of died for me and gave me a great opportunity (to catch it). It was definitely a big test (for the oblique). I was fully extended, but my body feels good.”
Hicks, who is batting .264 with 13 homers and 49 RBI this season, was greeted with a hug from starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery at the dugout steps after his first-inning grab.
Aaron Hicks makes an impressive grab.
“I said, ‘Thanks for saving me,’” said Montgomery, who allowed one run in six innings. “Huge, he really picked me up. He’s such a good athlete, anything he’s around, he’s got a chance.”
Home-plate umpire Dan Bellino ejected a fan from behind home plate with Gary Sanchez batting in the eighth inning, because the fan apparently had been yelling out pitch locations to Yankee batters.
“Rightfully so, that shouldn’t happen. They were removed from the park,” Girardi said.
Adam Warren will work a couple of games before playoffs begin.
( Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports)
“You could definitely hear the guy scream ‘outside, outside,’” Sanchez added through a translator. “But you don’t know if it’s going to be a slider or a fastball and you still have to stick to your plan…You have to focus on that and not what people are screaming out there.”
Reliever Adam Warren (back spasms) also figures to be activated in the coming days after throwing a two-inning simulated game on Tuesday. “He felt and looked pretty good, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Girardi said. “I think our goal would be we’d probably try to get him in two games maybe before the season ends.”
IN THE AIR TONIGHT
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was outside the Yankees’ dugout during batting practice. Tyson, who was accompanied by team memorabilia executive Brandon Steiner, posed for pictures with Girardi and several players, including Sanchez, Starlin Castro and both Fraziers, Todd and Clint.