The New York Yankees announced their ALCS roster today with a couple of familiar faces joining the fray.
Veteran CC Sabathia makes the roster in what could be his final postseason appearances. The Yankees decided to go with 13 pitchers for this round, with Sabathia signing on as the extra man. It remains to be seen in what exact capacity he might be used, though he will probably come out of the bullpen. The more surprising addition is Aaron Hicks, who not that long ago was considering Tommy John surgery.
Hicks was really only healthy for about three months of the season and hasn’t seen action since early August, when a flexor strain in his elbow forced him to the injured list. After suffering a setback, Tommy John surgery was very much in consideration and it looked like Hicks would be unable to contribute in the postseason. However, it’s surely a pleasant surprise that Hicks has shown enough progress to warrant a return to the roster for a late-season comeback.
With Hicks and Sabathia back in the fold, infielders Tyler Wade and Luke Voit have been left off the roster. Additionally, the Yankees announced that right-handed pitcher David Hale has been designated for assignment to free a spot on the 40-man for Hicks, who had been on the 60-day injured list.
Here’s the complete 25-man unit:
Hicks will be prepared for any situation, including starting, per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (via Twitter). If healthy, the switch-hitting centerfielder certainly has the talent to make an impact. Though he hasn’t met expectations this year, in large part due to injuries, Hicks offers the Yankees with increased defensive flexibility; if he plays in center field, where he’s garnered a reputation as one of the finest outfielders in the American League, Brett Gardner can slide to left while Giancarlo Stanton works as a DH. Of course, that scenario would force the Yankees to rejigger their infield mix if they want to keep Edwin Encarnacion’s bat in the lineup.
Wade would be the utility infield option, but with Torres, LeMahieu, and Urshela all capable of playing all over the diamond, Wade didn’t figure to see a lot of playing time regardless. Voit is the bigger name, and if you’d stopped watching baseball at the midway point of 2019 you’d certainly be surprised to see him left off this roster. An injury derailment and a tough second half slowed him down, however, and he did not make an appearance in the ALDS. He’s been knocked down the first base pecking order with LeMahieu getting the lion’s share of reps and Encarnacion at full health.