Monday, June 26, 2017


Photo: Getty Images
As if watching yet another starting pitcher melt down early and burn up the bullpen in a losing effort wasn't bad enough, another key Bomber landed on the disabled list Sunday.

"It's very frustrating," said  Aaron Hicks, who was told by team doctors he will be out three to four weeks, per "I want to be out there battling with my team and now I can't do that."

"So much for manager Joe Girardi having to figure out a way how to get steady playing time for four outfielders when Jacoby Ellsbury is off the DL.

"As a matter of fact, Ellsbury likely will cut short his minor-league rehab stint in time for the Yankees' road-trip-opening game Monday night against the Chicago White Sox.

Photo: Getty Images
"Ellsbury, who has been out since May 25 with a concussion, started his rehabbing by going 3-for-7 in two weekend games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He had been scheduled to play two more games early this week for the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

"If the Yankees delay Ellsbury's return, their options would include recalling infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder, who is on the 40-man roster but struggled during his big-league chances this season.

Photo: Pinstriped Prospects
"Other possibilities would be giving a first big-league stint to one of two touted Triple-A outfield prospects who would need to be added to the 40, Clint Frazier or Dustin Fowler.

"Hicks injured his oblique in the first inning Sunday on a checked swing, but he stayed in the game until hurting it worse in his next at-bat, a single to center.

"I took a checked swing, kind of felt it and then I really didn't think too much of it," Hicks said. "I thought I could play through it. My second at-bat, I took a swing on a base-hit up the middle and that's when I really felt it."

"The Yankees will miss their multi-threat switch-hitting outfielder, who had been rebounding in a big way from a bad 2016 season, his first with the club.

"In 60 games, Hicks is hitting .290 with 10 homers, 37 RBIs and seven steals. His average was up to .323 early in June and at .306 before he missed three games last weekend in Oakland with a sore Achilles.

"The Yankees, who are still tied for first in the AL East despite losing 10 of their last 12, have been hit hard with injuries and have been playing without starting pitcher CC Sabathia, first baseman Greg Bird, reliever Adam Warren and Ellsbury. Earlier, closer Aroldis Chapman, shortstop Didi Gregorius, catcher Gary Sanchez and first baseman Tyler Austin spent time on the DL.

"Besides those injuries, DH Matt Holliday (sick) and second baseman Starlin Castro (right wrist) were unavailable Sunday. Third baseman Chase Headley returned after missing three games with back spasms.

"Now Hicks will be out until mid-to-late July.

"It's tough on us, but that's one of the things we cannot control," Castro said. "We'll just keep focusing and hopefully (Hicks) will get back sooner."

It's amazing the Yankees are still contenders for a division title given their mounting injuries and pitching meltdowns.

Then again, everyone in the AL Least is now too with only five games separating the cellar from the leader.

Five weeks to go until the trade deadline.

The team that makes the biggest moves by then wins it.

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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