The Yankees announced on Friday that they’ve placed outfielder Aaron Hicks on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal muscle. He’ll join fellow outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury (right oblique strain) and Clint Frazier (concussion) on the disabled list. Outfield prospect Billy McKinney has been recalled from Triple-A in place of Hicks.
Hicks, 28, went 2-for-4 in his season debut yesterday and didn’t appear to suffer an injury over the course of the game, making today’s announcement somewhat of a surprise. The Yankees clearly have plenty of depth from which to draw, though the injuries to Frazier and Ellsbury, combined with the late-spring trade of Jake Cave, have thinned out their outfield ranks to an extent. With Hicks on the shelf, the Yankees can use Brett Gardner in center and play Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the corners.
[Related: Updated New York Yankees depth chart]
New York is counting on Hicks for a strong performance in 2018 after breaking out in an injury-shortened 2017 season. Last year, the switch-hitting former first-rounder slashed a hefty .266/.372/.475 with 15 homers and 10 steals in 361 plate appearances over the life of 88 games. Oblique strains on both his right and left sides hampered him, but he nonetheless demonstrated enough for the Yankees to consider him their primary center fielder heading into 2018.
McKinney will join the team in Toronto and make his big league debut if and when he gets into a game. The former first-round pick came to the Yankees alongside Gleyber Torres in the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs at the 2016 non-waiver deadline. Now 23 years of age, McKinney restored some of the prospect status he lost in a poor 2016 season by hitting .277/.338/.483 in the upper minors last season. He has experience at all three outfield spots but has spent more time in the corners recently in addition to getting his feet wet at first base in 2017.