BOSTON — Thursday night, the Yankees starting outfield could be whole again.
Aaron Boone said Wednesday if everything went well with Aaron Hicks’ rehab outing later that night with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the centerfielder could rejoin the club in time for the series finale against the Red Sox.
“Everything went well [Tuesday] night, had three at-bats,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game. “If all goes well there [Wednesday], there’s a chance he could join us [Thursday]. But we’ll make that evaluation at the end of the night.”
All seemed to go well as Hicks went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk and played the entire game in centerfield.
Afterward, Hicks told reporters that he looked forward to playing for the Yankees on Thursday.
Hicks was placed on the disabled list March 30 with a Grade 1 right intercostal muscle strain, the day after collecting two hits in the Yankees’ season-opening victory over the Blue Jays. Billy McKinney, called up to replace Hicks, went to the DL two days later with a left shoulder sprain, the continuation of a rough month-plus for Yankees outfielders.
Jacoby Ellsbury, almost over the right oblique strain that sidelined him early in spring training, developed a left hip issue late in his rehab that required a cortisone shot Monday. He’s slated to restart baseball activities Friday. Clint Frazier, out since Feb. 24 with a concussion, is getting closer to a rehab assignment, though the Yankees haven’t offered a timetable.
Kahnle’s velo dipping
Righthander Tommy Kahnle, whose average fastball last season clocked in at 98.1 mph when he had a 2.59 ERA, hasn’t consistently been at that level to this point this year, averaging 95.4 mph, according to Brooksbaseball.net
Kahnle, who has a 7.11 ERA after allowing five runs (three earned), two hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning Tuesday against the Red Sox, has said he’s healthy and that the issue is “mechanical.”
“Clearly everybody’s seen his velo’s not where it typically is so that’s a puzzle we’re trying to figure out,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “But we don’t have an answer for that . . . it looked at times [Tuesday] night he was overthrowing to try and create some velocity, which probably adversely affected his command. But he swears he feels good and healthy. We’ll keep trying to figure that out.”
There had been postgame speculation Tuesday that Luis Severino was tipping his pitches after he allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings of the 14-1 loss.
While Boone said his review showed that “wasn’t necessarily the case,” Cashman was more circumspect. When asked if he thought it was an issue, Cashman said, “I wouldn’t say.”