If Jacoby Ellsbury got hurt approximately two weeks ago, it would be easy to find a spot for him upon his return. The obvious choice would have been Brett Gardner, since he was hitting .188 prior to the Yankees six game homestand.
Unfortunately for Ellsbury, Gardner has been hitting over .300 since the homestand, which included a three-run home run on Friday afternoon and two hits in Saturday’s 11-6 blowout win against the Chicago Cubs. Suddenly taking Gardner out seems to be a difficult decision, especially with Jon Lester on the mound for tonight’s series finale.
Judge is a mainstay fixture in right field, and Hicks has been hitting on all cylinders over the last month. In laments terms, taking Hicks out of the lineup is simply out of the question.
“I feel good,” Hicks said after Saturday’s game. “I feel like my plate appearances have been better. I have more of an idea of what I want to do in every at-bat and it’s working out so far.”
So where will Ellsbury get his playing time once he’s ready to return to the Yankees lineup?
The Yankees will try to rotate all of the outfielders so Hicks can get a fair amount of playing time, meaning either Ellsbury or Gardner will sit against a left handed pitcher. However, Ellsbury’s health is raising concern. Ellsbury is putting up some of his best numbers as a Yankee this season, but four years into his seven year contract leaves plenty of people skeptical about his offensive production.
If Ellsbury isn’t ready for tonight’s game against the Cubs, it’s possible he could see some playing time against the Cincinnati Reds in their two-game series. However, one thing is certain; Hicks will play in one of the two games, and depending on how Ellsbury is feeling or performing, he could be the one that sits on the bench.