Yankees' Aaron Hicks smiles as he takes batting practice before...

Yankees' Aaron Hicks smiles as he takes batting practice before a spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Tampa, Fla.  Credit: AP/Lynne Sladky

TAMPA, Fla.— Two days later, the second cortisone shot was more than doing its job.

 “I’ve got no pain right now and I’m walking around doing all my core stuff,” said Aaron Hicks, who has been out since March 1 with lower back stiffness. “Did 20 minutes on the bike today and it went well, so I feel like I’m doing well.”

Hicks, however, cautioned the true test will come when he tries to swing a bat. He also felt well after the first cortisone shot, which he received March 12.

“After the first one I didn’t have any pain [either]. I didn’t feel any pain until I tried to swing,” he said.

It already has been determined that Hicks, who said doctors told him his official diagnosis was “chronic back pain,” will start the season on the injured list. The 29-year-old switch hitter is eligible to come off of it April 4.

“I feel great but like I said, I won’t really know until I swing,” Hicks said. “If I swing and I’m pain-free, then who knows how fast I can be back. That’s [April 4] what I want to shoot for.”

For openers

Luis Cessa initially was scheduled to start Tuesday but the Yankees decided to use Chad Green as an “opener” in a 6-2 victory over the Rays. Green allowed a run and two hits, throwing 25 pitches, his fastball peaking at 96. Aaron Boone said there’s a “good chance” the Yankees will go with an opener a few times during the season, with Green and Jonathan Holder, who starts Wednesday against the Astros, the two likely pitchers who would occupy that role.

As for Cessa, his brilliant spring continued as he seemed to put a lock on one of the two open rotation spots. Taking over for Green in the second, Cessa allowed two hits in four scoreless innings, striking out five, in lowering his ERA to 0.53.

More Yankees headlines

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months