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Friday, July 3, 2020

Yankees News: Aaron Hicks ‘Would Be Ready to Play’ in July After Elbow Injury

If the MLB season starts in July, the New York Yankees could have Aaron Hicks in their lineup right away. After undergoing Tommy John surgery Oct. 30, Hicks was given an eight- to 10-month recovery period…
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Scott Audette/Associated Press

If the MLB season starts in July, the New York Yankees could have Aaron Hicks in their lineup right away.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery Oct. 30, Hicks was given an eight- to 10-month recovery period. That would put his earliest return window around the end of June or early July.

Speaking to George A. King III of the New York Post, Hicks said he “would be ready to play” if the season begins in July: “The plan was July to see where I am at and ready to play games. For me, I want to be back to the arm strength I had before.”

While there has been no formal agreement between the owners and MLB Players Association to start the season, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday that commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to set a schedule if the union’s executive board rejects the current 60-game proposal.

Per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the league’s 60-game proposal would have the regular season begin July 19.

Hicks, who was limited to 59 games last season because of back and elbow injuries, told King he has been ramping up his workouts in recent weeks:

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I am doing really well. I am up to 160 feet throwing, taking BP on the field and doing defensive work. I get better and better [throwing] every day and every week. The throwing gets stronger. It is definitely coming. It comes in its own ways when it wants to. I am not too far off. I will throw to bases coming up here pretty soon, think next week. My arm feels great.

Few teams in MLB are better equipped than the Yankees to handle the potential absence of an outfielder. They already have more starters than available spots, including Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman.

Judge’s recovery from the fractured rib that was diagnosed in spring training remains something of a mystery. General manager Brian Cashman told reporters in May that they are “excited to believe that [Judge is] going to rejoin us at full capacity” when the season begins.

Hicks is another crucial piece for New York’s roster when healthy. The 30-year-old has posted an above-average OPS+ in each of the past three seasons, including a career-high 127 mark in 2018 when he hit 27 homers and drove in 79 runs.

Staying healthy has been a problem for Hicks throughout his career. He’s only played more than 100 games twice in seven seasons.

Given the strength of New York’s roster, with a pitching staff buoyed by the addition of free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole, the franchise has World Series aspirations in 2020.

Being able to put Hicks in a loaded lineup will make the Bronx Bombers’ quest for championship No. 28 a little bit easier.

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