BALTIMORE — Aaron Hicks spoke before the game about making the most of the opportunities he gets in the lineup, and he held true to that on Saturday night.
The often scrutinized Yankee outfielder hit a game-tying RBI single in the fourth inning of an eventual 4-1 Yankees win over the Baltimore Orioles. The moment was a notable one for Hicks since he had gone 0-for-8 at the plate prior to that moment and came in just his third start of the season.
“Yeah, felt good. Felt good to get a hit right there in a big situation,” Hicks said. Yeah, just missed on my first bat, but was able to come through in the second. Felt good.”
Those moments have felt far and few between for Hicks this season as he’s struggled to get into the lineup and had gone without a hit before Saturday night. Manager Aaron Boone called the Hicks hit a “big one.”
“I thought he had some good at-bats and competitive at-bats all night. But a big hit there to get us rolling there to get us on the board and we were able to take off a little bit from there. But yeah, good to see that,” Boone said.
It certainly was a good moment for Hicks in a young season in which he has struggled to get into the lineup and one where he had already expressed frustration about his lack of a role. When the question was posed to Hicks before the Yankees’ win over the Orioles, he indicated that he and Boone had some conversations about it, but they mostly revolved around Hicks being ready.
“I’m just kind of getting ready for anything,” Hicks said before the game.
The fourth-inning hit was his only of the night on Saturday against left-handed starter Cole Irvin. All of Hicks’ starts have come against left-handers this season.
The outfielder has batted a career .245 against lefties, but Hicks wasn’t sure if Boone was planning on making that his role this year. The Yankees’ manager didn’t indicate if that was the plan either when he spoke with reporters prior to the game.
“There may be some opportunities in there against some righties too with the right matchups,” Boone said. “We faced a lot of righties so far in the season. … Yeah, there’s going to be righty situations in there too potentially.”
Still, Hicks’ future with the ball club continues to be a bit of a mystery when you look at some of the Yankees’ roster decisions. In a slew of roster moves before Saturday’s game, the Yankees signed Willie Calhoun to a major league contract and put him on the active roster.
Calhoun was another outfielder on New York’s roster, which already has Oswaldo Cabrera and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The Yankees had been using Kiner-Falefa in a utility role since late in the spring and that has now included two starts in center field this season.
That’s without mentioning Giancarlo Stanton who is expected to get more time in right field and Harrison Bader who is working his way back from injury. Boone said he’s trying to make sure everyone gets some playing time, but everyone can’t play.
“Every guy’s gotten some run. The reality is there’s 13 spots,” Boone said. “I try and keep guys active and keep guys playing. Franchy (Cordero) got in there a couple of times, (Isiah Kiner-Falefa) started a few games for us. So hopefully everyone’s getting enough. Whether it’s a spot start or coming into a game or whatever to keep them sharp.
“We’re just doing our best to try and win each day and try and keep guys as sharp as possible.”
Hicks seemed to brush aside the addition of Calhoun when asked about it.
“Those aren’t my decisions, you know,” Hicks said. “I mean, like I just, I just stay ready. You know, and I sound like a broken record, but just stay ready for opportunities for me to get in there and do my thing.”
He did say there wasn’t any disappointment in Calhoun’s addition and that the Yankees were lucky to have him on the squad.
“He had a great spring. He had an opportunity to come up here and play for us. So, I’m excited for him,” Hicks said.