The Yankees received some seriously bad news about center fielder Aaron Hicks on Friday when they learned that he was diagnosed with a torn tendon sheath in his left hand — an injury all-too-familiar to fans who remember Mark Teixeira’s similar woes in 2013. The team tried to treat it with anti-inflammatory medicine in the perhaps-desperate hope that he could avoid an injured list stint, but they gave up the ghost late on Saturday night.
Manager Aaron Boone told reporters that Hicks will indeed head to the injured list. He took some batting practice swings on Saturday and it just wasn’t good enough to justify keeping him around. The Yankees are still hoping that he doesn’t have to go under the knife. At this point however, that seems like it might happen sooner rather than later, and Boone all but admitted that.
Per Jack Curry, the Yankees will turn to a somewhat-surprising name to fill Hicks’ roster spot: Ryan LaMarre. The team signed the outfielder to a minor league deal last December, and he acquitted himself fine in spring training, batting .250/.381/.438 in 13 games. The 32-year-old has played in 119 games across five MLB seasons with the Reds, Red Sox, A’s, Twins, and White Sox, batting .217/.286/.338, though he did homer twice in 14 games during his last stint in 2019. A 40-man roster move will have to be made to clear room for LaMarre.
LaMarre had reported to Triple-A Scranton for the start of 2021 and has hit .273/.333/.303 in nine games. It’s not much, but unfortunately, the Yankees don’t have a ton of options. Greg Allen hurt himself on Friday and is dealing with soreness in his side, Estevan Florial was only just promoted to Triple-A from Somerset, Trey Amburgey’s on the IL, and the already-defensively-limited Derek Dietrich has just 5 hits in 10 games (the OBP is better, but, well, who knows if that would play against MLB pitching). So LaMarre it is; ideally, he mainly serves as a bench piece anyway.
For what it’s worth, I know some folks are grumbling about Mike Tauchman, and while he wouldn’t be bad to have around in this situation, he entered Friday hitting .209/.274/.313 in 30 games with the Yankees and Giants. If those were his numbers just with the Yankees, fans wouldn’t be very pleased.
Tauchman homered Saturday, so those figures are going up a bit, but considering that Wandy Peralta has been impeccable in pinstripes (Sunday notwithstanding), I really don’t mind the deal. Those stats might be better than the underwhelming non-Aaron Judge outfielders right now, but with Darren O’Day and Zack Britton out and Justin Wilson inconsistent at best, it’s nice to have another seemingly good arm out there rather than a so-so outfielder like Tauchman. Regardless, hopefully Clint Frazier or Brett Gardner renders the thought experiment moot soon, Florial makes himself more of an option in Scranton, and LaMarre doesn’t see much time anyway.