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Aaron Hicks likely to lead off more often than not in Aaron Boone's lineup 

The switch-hitting Hicks led off 31 times last season, batting .276 with a .958 OPS.

Aaron Hicks #31 of the Yankees looks on

Aaron Hicks #31 of the Yankees looks on during batting practice against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 8, 2018. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

TAMPA, Fla. — Aaron Boone hasn’t gotten to the point of constructing his lineup, but he indicated Sunday that Aaron Hicks likely will be the Yankees’ leadoff man more often than not.

“I think DJ [LeMahieu], with the way he hits lefthanded pitching, he certainly could be an option up there,” Boone said, mentioning the righthanded-hitting utility infielder. “You’d even flirt with the big boy up there [Aaron Judge] in certain situations. But I do like Aaron [Hicks] at the top of the order.”

Perhaps not wanting people to go off the rails about Judge leading off, Boone played down that part of his previous comment, which was said with a grin.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s likely,” he said. “I would say Hicks is the guy I envision the most in that spot.”

Boone also mentioned Brett Gardner as a possibility against certain righthanders.

“It kind of depends on who’s in our lineup that day, who the pitcher is, who the opponent is, can all go into that,” he said. “I would say Aaron Hicks is probably the front-runner to be that guy.”

The switch-hitting Hicks led off 31 times last season, batting .276 with a .958 OPS.

King sent out

Michael King was sent to the minor-league complex on nearby Himes Avenue. One of the club’s top pitching prospects, he hoped to make a mark in his first big-league camp but suffered a stress reaction in his right elbow after a bullpen session before camp.

“With him shut down for another three weeks, we just felt like it was best for him to be doing that [rehab] over at Himes and not have to rush him back,” Boone said.

King, 23, posted a 1.79 ERA in 161 1⁄3 innings in 2018, a season that started with high Class A Tampa and ended with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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