Another lefthander, another night on the bench for one of the Yankees’ lefthanded-hitting outfielders. But it didn’t stay that way,
Despite picking up three hits Thursday night against the A’s, when the Yankees faced Rays lefty Matt Moore on Friday night, Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the lineup for the second time in four days in favor of the switch-hitting Aaron Hicks. Ellsbury entered Friday night with a .250/.250/.250 slash line against lefthanders this season (4-for-16).
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But when Hicks injured his left shoulder while diving for a hit, he was replaced by Ellsbury — who wound up stealing home with two outs in the fifth inning to tie the score at 3-3.
No further tests were scheduled for Hicks, who is day-to-day.
Brett Gardner, who started in leftfield Friday night, has been on the bench twice this season against lefty starters, most recently Thursday night against Rich Hill. In six at-bats against lefties, Gardner was at .333/.556/.500.
“I knew this question would come up today,” Joe Girardi said. “If you look at Hicks’ numbers over the last couple of years, his numbers against lefthanders are as good or better than most people in our lineup.”
Hicks had a .279/.410/.382 slash line against lefties in 2014 and a .307/.375/.495 line against them last season. But it has been a struggle this season: .071/.188/.071 in 14-at-bats entering Friday night.
“Hicksie’s hit the ball a lot better than the numbers indicate. He’s played tremendous defense,” Girardi said. “If I judged everyone on 20 at-bats, I don’t know if I could put a lineup out today.”
Kaprielian shines again
James Kaprielian, the Yankees’ first-round draft pick from last June who more than a few inside and outside the organization believe could make it to the Bronx this season, turned in his third straight standout outing for high Class A Tampa Thursday night. The 22-year-old allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, striking out nine. Kaprielian is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA, 22 strikeouts and three walks in 18 innings. One outside talent evaluator said his fastball has “consistently” hit 99 mph.
Chapman pitching strong
Aroldis Chapman, eligible to come off his 30-game suspension May 9, pitched Thursday in a camp game in Tampa, striking out two and giving up one hit. In four one-inning outings, Chapman — whose fastball has sat in the 99-mph range — has struck out nine and allowed one hit.
Lindgren to DL
Lefthander Jacob Lindgren, 23, one of the club’s top pitching prospects, was placed on the disabled list with what general manager Brian Cashman characterized as an “elbow complaint.” Lindgren had allowed one earned run in six innings in his first five outings with Tampa before allowing two runs and three walks in one inning Thursday night.