After being an everyday center fielder for the Twins last season, Aaron Hicks will have to get used to riding the pine a little more often as the Yankees’ fourth outfielder. But he’s just happy to be in the Bronx.
“I’ve just got to play my role,” Hicks told YES Network on Tuesday. “I’ve just got to be prepared…and go out there and do what I can to help the team win.”
Hicks was brought in to fill the void left by Chris Young as the fourth outfielder that can be an above-average bat, a serviceable defender when called upon late in games, and can spell tired or injured players. A switch-hitter, Hicks’ prowess against lefties is something the Yankees are banking on; he’s hit .272 for his career against southpaws, and an impressive .307 last year.
The 26-year-old Hicks still has plenty to learn in his fourth season as a big leaguer, and he’s optimistic that some of the Yankees’ veteran players will help him in that regard.
“I want to be able to kind of cling onto Carlos Beltran,” Hicks told YES Network. “He’s a switch-hitter who’s succeeded, and he’s a guy that I want to learn from in all aspects of the game.”
C.C. Sabathia saw major league action for the first time since undergoing alcohol rehab against the Marlins on Tuesday, and though his fastball topped off at just under 90, Sabathia channeled his vintage self by recording two no-hit innings.
“I felt good just to get back out there. It’s fun to be competing again, and it went well,” Sabathia told reporters after the game.
Joe Girardi was happy with what he saw from the dugout as well. “[Sabathia] located extremely well,” Girardi remarked, “he’s throwing it where he wants to, and he’s got movement.”
Matt Harvey saw his first Spring Training action on Tuesday against the Braves, and though he got into some trouble, he and the Mets’ coaching staff were pleased with what transpired. All told, Harvey tossed 41 pitches in three innings and allowed three hits and two walks while striking out one. Harvey’s fastball hovered in the mid-90s, and most importantly, he had his slider working for the first time in a long time.
“I think the spin and the swing and misses I have gotten between here and live batting practice has definitely shown it’s where it needs to be,” Harvey told the New York Times. “It wasn’t that case for three-quarters of the year last year.”
“It’s nice to see that slider back,” Terry Collins commented after Tuesday's contest.
The Yankees and Mets played to a 4-4 tie at Tradition Field on Wednesday. Ivan Nova started for the Yankees, tossed three innings and allowed no runs to score on just three hits. Jacob deGrom started for the Mets, and he allowed one run on five hits while striking out two in three innings. The Mets had a 4-2 lead heading into the ninth inning but Antonio Bastardo gave up back-to-back home runs to Kyle Higashioka and Sebastian Valle to allow the Bombers to avoid the loss.