ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Aaron Hicks and Chad Green are very close to rejoining the Yankees.
Hicks went 3-for-4 with an RBI for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday against Toledo. Hicks has played in four minor league games (three at Single-A Tampa) and is 3-for-18. There is a chance he could come off the IL early next week.
With manager Aaron Boone saying a Green sighting in the big leagues will happen soon, it is not out of the question the right-handed reliever will be added to the roster for Sunday’s game.
After going 0-2 with a 16.43 ERA and giving up 15 hits in 7 ²/₃ innings in the big leagues, Green was shipped to SWB. In three games there, Green worked 7 ¹/₃ innings, allowed five hits, whiffed 14 and held hitters to a .145 batting average.
Nestor Cortes Jr. gave up three runs and four hits in two innings Saturday and was optioned to SWB after the the Yankees’ 7-3 loss to the Rays.
Giancarlo Stanton spent Friday and Saturday working out at the Yankees’ minor league complex. According to Aaron Boone, Stanton hit and did defensive stuff.
“The reports are that it went well [Friday],’’ Boone said.
The plan in spring training was for Brett Gardner to play left field, lead off and occasionally get a day off against left-handed starters. That vanished when Hicks didn’t make it out of spring training. Including Saturday night’s game against the Rays, the 35-year-old Gardner had started 35 of the Yankees’ 39 games in the middle of the outfield.
Because the career .261 hitter was batting .205 with a .305 on-base percentage and struggling with runners in scoring position (1-for-27, .037), Boone was asked if Gardner had been overworked.
“I feel like he has been swinging the bat well,’’ Boone said before Gardner went 0-for-4 and had the average dip to .199. “I feel for the most part Gardy has out-performed his numbers. He has been getting on base and has gotten some big hits for us. He has hit a lot of balls hard that have been outs.’’
One of them was a hard hit grounder that turned into a double play in the sixth Saturday night.
With Hicks possibly rejoining the Yankees this coming week, Boone might be able to give Gardner an occasional break.
“Hopefully there are times when we can get him off his feet more We have leaned on him pretty heavily but we also feel he is up for it,’’ Boone said.
Troy Tulowitzki was in the Yankees’ clubhouse shaking hands with teammates he hasn’t seen in a while. The shortstop played in five games before landing on the IL with a strained left calf. He was playing in minor league games when he suffered a relapse.
“He is getting ready to start hitting again and start taking ground balls next week,’’ Boone said. “In a short time here he had an impact on guys. Obviously, it has been tough for him having some setbacks. Hopefully start to ramp it up next week.’’