— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) March 30, 2018
The Yankees have lost their starting center fielder, Aaron Hicks, just one game into the season. Not good, obviously. There’s no return timetable yet, but Hicks has struggled to stay healthy in the past and missed a decent chunk of time thanks to oblique issues last season.
I suspect that Brett Gardner will handle center field duties until Hicks returns or until Jacoby Ellsbury is ready, whichever happens first. In left field, we’ll probably see a mix of Giancarlo Stanton and rookie Billy McKinney. Pretty exciting opportunity for McKinney, eh?
Whenever McKinney gets into his first game, it’ll be his major league debut. The lefty swinging outfielder thrived after a promotion to Triple-A last season, posting a strong 140 wRC+ in 224 plate appearances. He showed some power this spring, hitting 5 home runs in 52 plate appearances.
In all likelihood, this would have been Clint Frazier‘s first chance for significant playing time in the big leagues this year. Unfortunately for him, his recovery from a concussion suffered in camp is still underway.
Losing Hicks is a tough pill to swallow. After breaking out last season, injuries derailed his second half. Hopefully this trip to the disabled list isn’t a bad omen for 2018. On the plus side, the team’s outfield depth is strong enough to weather the storm, especially once Ellsbury and Frazier are back to full strength.