DETROIT — Aaron Hicks is likely done for the regular season. And his availably for the postseason seems very much in doubt as well.
While that is not a complete surprise — Aaron Boone indicated as much over the weekend in Boston — the outfielder’s visit with a specialist in Los Angeles Wednesday all but confirmed it.
“He’s still shut down, probably for another couple weeks at least,” Boone said before Wednesday night’s game against the Tigers was postponed. (The teams will play a straight doubleheader Thursday starting at 1:10 p.m.)
Boone, while declining at this point to call Tommy John surgery likely, it remains “on the table” as a possibility.
“He’ll be back in New York when we get home [after this trip that ends Sunday in Toronto] and we’ll sit around and talk and try to get our arms around it a little bit better. We’re trying to get as many smart people as we can kind of looking at this, but it’s frankly something that’s not real clear as to what the course of action should be.”
Hicks, out since Aug. 4 with a right flexor strain, resumed throwing last week, but that program was quickly shut down when his arm didn’t feel quite right. The 29-year-old had another MRI done, which showed no additional damage, but the feeling of discomfort remained.
Hicks flew to California to meet with a specialist, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, and another MRI taken there didn’t shed any more light on Hicks’ situation other than the recommendation to shut him down again, which all but certainly means the end of his season.
“Even if it’s ultimately not surgery, the clock’s against him now,” Boone said.
Boone several times used the phrase “a little bit gray” in describing exactly what remains wrong in Hicks’ arm, whether the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) is part of the issue and, ultimately, if surgery will be necessary.
“It’s not clear that something needs to be done,” Boone said of surgery. “But the reality is he hasn’t responded yet to the first shutdown and how he came back. Hopefully, we’ll all make the right choice in time here, but it’s going to be at least a few more weeks of shutdown . . . Hopefully it declares itself here in the next several weeks.”
With Mike Tauchman placed on the IL Tuesday with a grade 2 left calf strain — likely ending his season — the Yankees are facing an outfield shortage that has pressed Clint Frazier into duty in left, something the club prefers to avoid because of his defensive shortcomings, in the short term. Tyler Wade is a better defensive option — the super-utility man started in right for Aaron Judge Tuesday night — and Breyvic Valera and Thairo Estrada also could see time in left. But the Yankees’ hope is Giancarlo Stanton will be able to rejoin them next weekwhen they start a homestand Tuesday night against the Angels.
Stanton, who has played just nine games this season and who has been on the IL since June 26 with his latest injury, a sprained right knee, worked out again Wednesday at the club’s minor league complex in Tampa.