The Yankees’ weekend of injury updates continued on Sunday morning, as the club provided information on a pair of center fielders. According to multiple reports, the team placed Aaron Hicks on the injured list with a nagging back injury. At the same time, Jacoby Ellsbury arrived to Tampa to begin his comeback attempt.
Hicks, 29, first experienced a stiff back while playing the Orioles on March 1st. The team sidelined him for a few games, seemingly out of an abundance of caution. Two cortisone shots laters, however, and the center fielder landed on the injured list to start the year. Depending on when they assign a backdate, Hicks could begin the season during the April 1st - 3rd series against the Tigers.
While meeting with the media, Aaron Boone explained his thought process on the injury:
Aaron Boone says the Yankees are being aggressive with the treatment of Aaron Hicks’ back (the cortisone shot), but adds they’re acting out of an abundance of caution. Had this injury popped up in the middle of season, Hicks likely plays through it, Boone said.— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) March 17, 2019
That rationale gives some reason for optimism, but back injuries have a reputation of lingering for a long while.
Elsewhere in Yankees camp, Ellsbury arrived to Tampa and underwent a physical. He expects to address reporters tomorrow. The 35-year-old missed the entirety of the 2018 season with a number of injuries, most significantly a labrum tear in his hip. He last played in the 2017 ALCS, where he surprisingly appeared as the Yankees designated hitter. Ellsbury hit .264/.348/.402 (101 wRC+) that year.
For proof of life, please consider this tweet:
Jacoby Ellsbury. pic.twitter.com/AMnhsyU2zt— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) March 17, 2019
Per Bryan Hoch, Ellsbury will begin “hitting off a tee and playing catch at short distances.” He is not a candidate to replace Hicks on the roster.