The 2023 season hasn’t gotten off to a rosy start for Yankees outfield Aaron Hicks.
He was not in the starting lineup for the first three games of season, he’s already expressed frustration on his lack of a role and on Monday night when he finally got into the lineup he was given a very temped response at Yankee Stadium. In fact, he was booed when his name was introduced during the starting lineups and after he struck out in the bottom of the fifth.
The boos have dated back to last season and during the spring as well.
In his first start of the season, Hicks didn’t register a hit and struck out once. He did reach base in his first at-bat with a walk.
What Hicks’ role exactly is hasn’t been very clear so far and the decision to turn to Isiah Kiner-Falefa in center on Sunday raised even more questions. Boone told reporters on Monday that he and Hicks did communicate, but acknowledged that Hicks was frustrated.
“The role can evolve and change, and every opportunity and — from my standpoint — trying to put him in positions where I feel like he can impact us and be the most successful,” Boone said. “So try and communicate ahead of time that he’s in there or he’s not, things like that, but I don’t want to also tell him, ‘You’re in a reserve role here or you’re the starter,’ because that’s not the reality.
“I mean, the reality is our roster continues to evolve and change a little bit and we’ll eventually get Harrison (Bader) back and you lose a guy here and a role changes like that. So I try and communicate ahead of time as much as I can with what I’m thinking and that’s the role right now is just be ready to go.”
Hicks had expressed his frustration in an interview with The Athletic the day prior after he was not in the lineup for the third straight game of the season. He told the national publication that he didn’t want to come off the bench and wanted to be a regular on the field and in the batting order, and that he wasn’t sure what his role was.
“If you would have told me (in spring training) that I wouldn’t have started the first three games, I wouldn’t have believed you. But it is what it is. But there’s nothing I can do about it. Just sit around and wait for my opportunity and try my best,” he told The Athletic.
It was unclear how much playing time Hick would see for the remainder of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies, who New York beat on Monday night. Hicks is coming off a spring where he slashed 293/.408/.390 with one home run and two RBI.