Aaron Boone, in his words, “ripped the Band-Aid off” in terms of playing Matt Carpenter in the field during the Yankees’ recent four-city, 10-game trip in order to keep the veteran’s hot bat in the lineup.
And the manager hasn’t looked back.
Carpenter started July 6 in rightfield in Pittsburgh – the 36-year-old’s first start in the outfield since 2013 – and he started two of four games last weekend in leftfield, in front of Fenway Park’s famed, and quirky, Green Monster.
Thursday brought Carpenter’s first outfield start at the Stadium, in rightfield. He had a home run and two RBIs in the Yankees’ 7-6 loss to the Reds.
“I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Boone said Thursday. “His willingness to do it, who he is personality-wise, I don’t worry about him being overwhelmed with it, the mental part of it or the nerves part of it. That said, we certainly don’t expect it to be perfect, and we’re obviously doing it to get his bat in, and we’re going to work with him as much as we can to continue to make him an option.”
Carpenter, signed in late May to a big-league deal, is hitting .338 with 11 homers and a 1.319 OPS in 28 games.
“So far it’s gone pretty well,” Boone said. “As far as holding my breath (when Carpenter is in the outfield), no. When I ripped off the Band-Aid it was, ‘Let’s go.’ I did it because I wanted him in the lineup, and we’ll live with the results.”
The Yankees brought back utility man Tyler Wade from the Angels on Thursday in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations. Wade, 27, played with the Yankees from 2017 to 2021 before being designated for assignment by the club last November.
Wade is a solid defender at multiple positions in the infield and outfield but has never hit consistently in the big leagues. He was assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Wade appeared in 67 games with the Angels this season with a .218 batting average.
Hicks doing better
Aaron Hicks, who left Tuesday night’s game with a right shin contusion after fouling a ball off his leg, was not in the lineup for a second straight night Thursday but, according to Boone, showed improvement.
“When I saw him (earlier in Thursday afternoon), he was getting treatment,” Boone said. “Definitely felt better, felt like he wanted to move around and swing, so that feels like a good sign.”