TAMPA — Aaron Boone is thinking switch-hitting Aaron Hicks could be the Yankees’ leadoff hitter against lefties and righties, but the manager kept the door open to using him lower in the lineup.
“I also like him, because we don’t have a lot of lefties right now, his left-handed bat in the middle, you like him splitting up [right-handed hitting] guys,” Boone said at George M. Steinbrenner Field, where pitchers and catchers officially reported Wednesday. “We will kind of evolve over spring training. My expectation is that we will see a lot of different orders depending on right and left as spring training unfolds and the start of the season unfolds.”
Hicks, 29, was most productive hitting first in his third season with the Yankees. In 31 games at the top of the order, he batted .276 (34-for-123) with a .372 on-base percentage and a .958 OPS. Hicks hit third in 33 games, posting a .222 (26-for-117) average, a .342 on-base percentage and a .753 OPS. As the sixth-place hitter in 28 games, Hicks batted .223 (21-for-94) with a .364 on-base percentage and an .822 OPS.
Hicks established career highs in home runs (27), RBIs (79) and walks (90) while hitting .248 in 137 games.
Jordan Montgomery had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on June 7 and is looking at four more months before he returns to the Yankee Stadium mound.
“I have four more months to get as strong as I can,” Montgomery said Wednesday. “Four more months and Yankee Stadium hopefully.”
Montgomery said he has encountered one slight setback in the rehab process, but the July return could be a little aggressive since doctors say it takes between 12 and 16 months to recover.
“I got sore once, general soreness, it is hypersensitive in the elbow,” said Montgomery, who went 2-0 with a 3.62 ERA in six starts before leaving in the first inning of a May 1 game against the Astros.
Montgomery is making 50 throws at 90 feet and will eventually get to 50 at 120 feet.
Luis Severino and Jonathan Loaisiga threw the first two bullpen sessions of the spring after a long list of hurlers played catch in right field on a wet and cold day.
Thursday is the first official workout and all pitchers and catchers are required to be on hand.
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