3:54pm: The Yankees are optimistic that Hicks’ latest oblique injury isn’t as serious as his previous one, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (on Twitter). They believe he’ll be able to resume swinging within the next 10 days.
This is the second oblique-related DL placement of the summer for Hicks, who suffered a right oblique strain June 25 and didn’t return until Aug. 10. A similarly lengthy absence this time could mean the Yankees won’t have Hicks again this year, given that the 72-63 club is 2.5 games up on a wild-card spot and no sure thing to advance well into October.
Having seen his OPS drop 83 points since his initial DL stint, Hicks has slumped at an inopportune time for the Yankees. However, despite his recent struggles and injury woes, Hicks has surprisingly been one of the Yankees’ top players this year. After trudging through a disastrous 2016, his first season in the Bronx, the switch-hitting former Twin has slashed .265/.367/.463 with 13 home runs and eight stolen bases in 342 plate appearances. Hicks has combined that above-average offensive output with terrific work in the field (14 DRS, 5.7 UZR) to account for 2.7 fWAR – more than three times the total he posted from 2013-16 (0.8).
With expensive reserve Jacoby Ellsbury on hand, the Yankees are decently equipped to replace Hicks, though the former Red Sox star hasn’t exactly thrived this season. The Yankees’ outfield as a whole now looks much weaker than it did earlier in the season when Hicks and Aaron Judge were at their best. Judge is in the middle of a well-documented nosedive since the All-Star break, while Brett Gardner has also declined somewhat during the second half and Clint Frazier has been on the DL since Aug. 10 with an oblique strain of his own.