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Aaron Hicks

Yankees OF Aaron Hicks might not be fully ready to resume play whenever the MLB season returns, but he is definitely working hard to do so. 

Hicks is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and manager Aaron Boone has said in his injury updates that Hicks continues to stay on track. Well, a video showed his progress, and Hicks looked to be in great shape as he took BP and showed off some conditioning workouts...

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Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge

The MLB pause due to the coronavirus pandemic has given injured Aaron Judge extra time to heal from shoulder and rib issues, but he still might not be ready for the potentially rescheduled Opening Day.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Thursday during a video chat with reporters that while Judge continues to heal, he was never expected to be MLB-ready until the "summertime," noting that Judge "wants to play as much as anybody" and that the Yanks are looking forward to having him back in the lineup.

"Ultimately, the broken rib that Aaron Judge suffered, it's in an area that the blood flow to that region is more difficult," Cashman said. "Blood flow is a significant part of the healing, so that's why the time frame is longer. When it happened, I always felt that we wouldn't see Judge more likely until the summertime."

While "summertime" could theoretically mean June 20, it could also mean any summer date after that.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, Danny Abriano
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Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Over the past few seasons, the Yankees have been building themselves back into legitimate World Series contenders. A "rebuild," if you even want to call it that because it lasted about a season and a half, involved players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres and Luis Severino trying to find themselves in the league. 

But it wasn't long before Judge became the AL Rookie of the Year, Sanchez burst onto the scene smashing balls over the wall, Torres became one of the best players in the league at 22 years old, and Severino -- before his Tommy John surgery -- showed dominance on the rubber.

That's why for the past two seasons the Yankees have played late into the postseason, and they just missed competing for a World Series last season when they lost in the ALCS to the Astros. Still, in 2020, they made even more improvements to be the team to beat -- if/when the season starts. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Clint Frazier, Deivi Garcia, DJ LeMahieu, Domingo German, Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, Zack Britton, Scott Thompson
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Francisco Lindor (Kirby Lee)
Francisco Lindor (Kirby Lee)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With the MLB season still paused, let's dip into the Yankees mailbag...


@muscigerard1: If Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan walked into a bar together who buys the first drink?

Ruth would buy the drink and then Jordan would commission a documentary about what a great drinking buddy he was. In that documentary, he would go out of his way to call the hardworking bartender short and ugly.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Deivi Garcia, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Feb 19, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (99) waits for a fly ball during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Feb 19, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (99) waits for a fly ball during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

Yankees manager Aaron Boone is back to give the latest updates on his players who are continuing to work hard to get fully healthy before the season starts. 

Last time, everyone was still trending in the right direction, and that is the same news that Boone dropped on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio on Tuesday. 

In Aaron Judge's case, he continues to work on his rib injury, and Boone gave an update regarding his next test to see how his healing process is going. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton, Scott Thompson
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Aaron Judge/Gleyber Torres
Aaron Judge/Gleyber Torres

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Right now, the Yankees are simply worrying about whether or not they're going to have a season to play in 2020. But, with the hiatus, it's worth examining how this roster is set up at the moment, and more specifically, how it could change next season and in the short-term future. 

This season, the Yankees are primed to contend for a World Series title, and that was evident when GM Brian Cashman said you know what to the luxury tax threshold and paid Gerrit Cole $324 million over the next nine seasons to be his bonafide ace. That was added to the massive amount remaining on Giancarlo Stanton's contract. 

So, as of now, the Yankees are at $239 million, which is well over the $208 million threshold. A World Series would definitely suffice with that kind of spending. But what about spending for the future? 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Jacoby Ellsbury, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Scott Thompson
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Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk works out during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk works out during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Many Yankees staff members (including manager Aaron Boone) and players have left Tampa for home to wait out the coronavirus pause, but some players (including DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton) remain.

On Wednesday, Boone -- who said he has been checking in regularly with GM Brian Cashman -- spoke to Yankees beat reporters to provide updates on what's been going on in Tampa and elsewhere...

An update on Aaron Judge

Judge, who is recovering from multiple related injuries, is still in "the healing phase" when it comes to his cracked rib and will be re-evaluated in a few weeks.

Like Giancarlo Stanton, the expectation is that Judge will be ready to go when the regular season starts no earlier than May 10.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Danny Abriano
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Jonathan Loaisiga (Butch Dill)
Jonathan Loaisiga (Butch Dill)

The Yankees scored six runs in the eighth inning in their 7-4 win over the Pirates on Saturday. >> Box score

5 things to know from Saturday's game...

1) Jonathan Loaisiga allowed his first runs this spring: a two-run homer to former Yankee John Ryan Murphy in the second inning. Loaisiga allowed two runs on two hits and walked none while striking out two in his 2.0 innings of work. He has a 2.57 ERA this spring (two earned runs in seven innings). He also has 11 strikeouts this spring, good for a 14.1 K/9.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Jonathan Loaisiga, Miguel Andujar
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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees were masters of the contingency plan during last season's record-breaking injury-fest. That's the, um, good news? 

The bad news, of course, is that the club may have to be without another star for awhile after revealing Friday that Aaron Judge has a stress fracture in his first right rib. The injury could require surgery, though the Yanks' plan now is for Judge to rest for two weeks and be re-evaluated. Even if he's improved by then, Opening Day sounds unlikely. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Anthony McCarron
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Feb 21, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) fields a ball during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 21, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) fields a ball during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday morning, Yankees manager Aaron Boone gave updates on some of the team's injured players ahead of their spring training game against the Detroit Tigers.

Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton has been dealing with a grade 1 calf strain that could keep him out for Opening Day. On Friday, he said that "there's no words" to describe how frustrated he is at suffering another injury, but Boone gave some positive news on Stanton after seeing him Sunday morning.

Stanton said he was feeling better and that he was walking normal, according to NJ.com's Brendan Kuty.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton
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Feb 25, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) smiles during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 25, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) smiles during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Just over a year ago, when word spread through the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa that the team had agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract extension with Luis Severino, the first blush of criticism fell on the pitcher and his agents.

Agents, rival executives and some players wondered how the young ace could settle for such a below-market deal. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Andy Martino
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Feb 18, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (77) works out at batting practice during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 18, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (77) works out at batting practice during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Clint Frazier played in just 69 games for the Yankees in 2019, mainly when the team was dealing with injuries in the outfield. The 25-year-old split his time between the big leagues and in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

This season, Frazier is focused on making the Yankees' Opening Day roster, especially since the MLB expanded roster sizes by one player to 26 total players.

At one point, I was starting left field (for the Yankees)," Frazier told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. "And then at another point, I was starting left field in (Triple-A) Scranton. I have my eyes on that other spot (starting for Yankees)

 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar
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Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) hits a three run home run against Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) during the first inning of game five in the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) hits a three run home run against Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) during the first inning of game five in the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

Since the Yankees reported to Spring Training over the past week in Tampa, Florida, players have naturally been asked about the Astros' electronic sign-stealing scandal.

Yankees CF Aaron Hicks became the latest to do so Wednesday, and he didn't hold back on his stance when speaking with SNY contributor Sweeny Murti.

Hicks -- who faced the Astros in New York's 2017 and '19 ALCS losses, which respectively went seven and six games -- echoed his teammates' sentiments from the past few days when he expressed frustration with Houston's cheating.

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Roughly four months removed from surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, Yankees CF Aaron Hicks told SNY contributor Sweeny Murti that the recovery has gone well.

During a 1-on-1 interview Wednesday at Spring Training in Tampa, Florida, Hicks told Murti about his rehabilitation process, which he admitted has seen ups and downs on the 30-year-old's road back to the field.

"I feel great," Hicks told Murti. "I feel like my arm is recovering good, recovering fast and I'm kind of just ready to get things going. The first couple of months were kind of slow, just trying to get strength back and stuff like that with grip strength. So pretty much just trying to just kind of enjoy the ride right now, because I know it's a long road, but just excited for the future."

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Luis Severino is aiming for a big bounce-back season with the Yankees in 2020, and if it looks anything like his handful of games late last year, the team will definitely be happy. 

Severino was solid at the very end of the regular season and pitched well in the postseason. Heading into spring training, he told SNY contributor Sweeny Murti that he is feeling great, and that can be attributed to some offseason tweaks. 

"I feel pretty great," he said. "Last year was a tough year for me, but this year I changed a little bit of my routine. We talked to the trainers and made a really good program to come here healthy."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Deivi Garcia, Luis Severino, Scott Thompson
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Miguel Andujar's role this season has been a question ever since Gio Urshela took over for him at third base, and had a career year in 2019. GM Brian Cashman has already said it's Urshela's job to lose, so finding a spot for Andujar is now one of the biggest storylines coming out of Yankees spring training. 

Reporters have already prodded manager Aaron Boone to give them an inside look at what the team plans to do with the soon-to-be 25-year-old, and playing the outfield has been the base of some of those questions. Andujar has been seen taking reps with the other outfielders, and Boone said he could see some game time right away as well. 

"Yeah," Boone said when asked if we could see Andujar in the outfield this weekend. "I think the good thing is, physically speaking, Miggy's feeling well and we feel like in a good place and ready to go and game ready. We'll get him out there in a lot of different situations and even positions. But, at the same time, being mindful of the demands that this creates and something new that we have to be mindful of."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Miguel Andujar, Scott Thompson
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Sep 24, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Sep 24, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

CC Sabathia is joining the Yankees front office as a special adviser to general manager Brian Cashman, according to the New York Post.

A role with the Yankees was something that Sabathia had his sights set on even before he officially retired following his injury during the playoffs.

"I want to be a part of the Yankees still, front office, whatever, however we can work that out," Sabathia told The Post last May.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner
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Manager Joe Girardi has had a difficult time deciphering through his outfield rotation of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks.  (Rick Osentoski)
Manager Joe Girardi has had a difficult time deciphering through his outfield rotation of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks. (Rick Osentoski)

Yankees outfielders Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner were recognized Saturday on MLB Network as two of baseball's top 10 center fielders, making New York the only team with a pair of players to crack the list.

Los Angeles Angels star and 2019 AL MVP Mike Trout topped the list, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger and the Houston Astros' George Springer.

Hicks and Gardner manned the position for the Yankees in 2019, with the veteran Gardner -- who previously started out in center throughout his early career -- stepping in for Hicks after he had an injury-shortened season.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner
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Jul 12, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) runs to first base while hitting a triple in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jul 12, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) runs to first base while hitting a triple in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Yankees made official what SNY's Andy Martino confirmed last month, announcing that they have signed outfielder Brett Gardner to a one-year deal with a club option for 2021. Martino reported in December that the deal is worth $12.5 million, with the 2021 club option set for $10 million.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Gardner, LHP Stephen Tarpley was designated for assignment.

Aaron Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery in September, so Gardner figures to be the team's starting center fielder when the season gets underway.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner
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Sep 15, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber (12) hits a two run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Geoff Hartlieb (not pictured) during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports (Daniel Bartel)
Sep 15, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber (12) hits a two run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Geoff Hartlieb (not pictured) during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports (Daniel Bartel)

The Yankees and Cubs have talked about a trade that would bring Kyle Schwarber to the Bronx, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who notes that the trade talks have not yet gained momentum.

The Cubs have made it clear that they're open to trading from their core that includes Schwarber, Kris Bryant, and Willson Contreras, with Theo Epstein saying earlier this offseason that "change is not always easy but it's necessary" and that "there are no untouchables."

Schwarber is expected to make $8 million in 2020 via arbitration and is arbitration-eligible for a final time in 2021. He is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar
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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees left the Winter Meetings having secured their big fish by inking Gerrit Cole to a record deal. They also brought back Brett Gardner.

But while GM Brian Cashman has checked off his biggest needs, there is still some work to be done.

Here's what should still be on the Yankees' agenda with about two months to go until spring training begins in Tampa...

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner, Chad Green, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, Kyle Higashioka, Danny Abriano
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Yankees' Brett Gardner
Yankees' Brett Gardner

It has long been reported that Brett Gardner would be returning to the Yankees for his 13th season, and now it's official. 

SNY's Andy Martino confirmed that Gardner has signed a one-year deal with a club option for 2021 to stay in the Bronx. The deal is worth $12.5 million for this season, with the option set at $10 million. 

The Yankees had their efforts focused on landing Gerrit Cole, which is why Gardner was left on the backburner until now. But, as Martino had been reporting, both sides were optimistic a deal would get done. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Scott Thompson
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Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

A Brett Gardner signing is likely coming soon, SNY's Andy Martino reported early Wednesday morning.

As the Yankees focused their efforts on landing Gerrit Cole, which they did on Tuesday night, they have remained optimistic about a reunion with Gardner, Martino has reported, noting that the Gardner situation could potentially resolve when the Yankees' payroll situation was clearer.

In November, Yankees GM Brian Cashman was open about the team's desire to have Gardner back, and wouldn't say whether he felt it would take more than a one-year deal to get it done.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Danny Abriano
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Gerrit Cole (Thomas B. Shea)
Gerrit Cole (Thomas B. Shea)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Here's the ideal Winter Meetings headline for Yankees fans:

"Happy Holidays! Yanks Get Cole in their Stocking." 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Anthony McCarron
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Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

As the Yankees focus their efforts on landing free agents Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, they remain optimistic about a reunion with outfielder Brett Gardner, reports SNY's Andy Martino.

Martino notes that the Gardner situation could potentially resolve when the Yankees' payroll situation is clearer.

In November, Yankees GM Brian Cashman was open about the team's desire to have Gardner back, and wouldn't say whether he felt it would take more than a one-year deal to get it done.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Danny Abriano
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Brett Gardner (Treated Image by SNY)
Brett Gardner (Treated Image by SNY)

The Mets need an experienced, everyday center fielder, specifically Brett Gardner.

The Yankees, though, again have a hole in center filed now that Aaron Hicks is expected to miss a large chunk of the 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery.

This is why earlier this month, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he's been in contact with Gardner's agent, despite reports late in the season that their time together had likely come to an end.

"I want to continue playing," Gardner said in October, according to the New York Post. "Physically and mentally I feel great. My family wants me to keep playing. Hopefully, that's here (with the Yankees)."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brandon Nimmo, Brett Gardner, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Matthew Cerrone
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Mar 11, 2018; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Zack Granite (8) at bat at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 11, 2018; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Zack Granite (8) at bat at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Yankees made a move to potentially improve their outfield depth on Friday evening.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Yankees have signed outfielder Zack Granite to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to spring training.

Granite, a Staten Island native and former Seton Hall Pirate, was originally a 14th round pick of the Twins in the 2013 amateur draft. The left-handed-hitting outfielder made his MLB debut for Minnesota on July 8, 2017 and went on to play 40 games for the Twins that year. A .237 hitter, Granite hit one home run and drove in 13 runs that season. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton
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Yankees' Miguel Andujar (Treated Image by SNY)
Yankees' Miguel Andujar (Treated Image by SNY)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Brian Cashman said last week he has received numerous inquiries from teams about trading Miguel Andujar, and while Gio Urshela's emergence makes that idea tempting for the Yankees, the pros and cons of it lean toward such extremes that finding the right deal could be difficult.

Consider, for example, these contrasting points of view from two scouts I talked to this weekend:

"Andujar's ceiling as a hitter is so high that I'm not sure the Yankees could get anywhere near the value they should for him," one scout said. "He's got an innate ability to make contact, square the ball up and hit it hard, which everybody saw in his rookie year, and he'll only get better as he continues to see major-league pitching."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So Theo Epstein is open for business, seemingly determined to shake up a roster that has fallen short of expectations since the Cubs' curse-busting championship in 2016.

He told reporters at the GM Meeting in Arizona this week that "change is not always easy but it's necessary," and declared "there are no untouchables" when it comes to the possibility of a trade this offseason.

Yes, with his once-youthful core of position players now speeding toward free agency, and a payroll that went over the luxury-tax threshold this season, Epstein apparently is ready to consider any and all deals that could save the Cubs some money while still giving them a shot in 2020 at another championship.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brandon Nimmo, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeff McNeil, Miguel Andujar, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So Theo Epstein is open for business, seemingly determined to shake up a roster that has fallen short of expectations since the Cubs' curse-busting championship in 2016.

He told reporters at the GM Meetings in Arizona this week that "change is not always easy but it's necessary," and declared "there are no untouchables" when it comes to the possibility of a trade this offseason.

Yes, with his once-youthful core of position players now speeding toward free agency, and a payroll that went over the luxury-tax threshold this season, Epstein apparently is ready to consider any and all deals that could save the Cubs some money while still giving them a shot in 2020 at another championship.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brandon Nimmo, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeff McNeil, Miguel Andujar, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Oct 2, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone speaks to the media during a workout day before game 1 of the ALDS at Yankees Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 2, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone speaks to the media during a workout day before game 1 of the ALDS at Yankees Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli narrowly beat out Aaron Boone to take home the 2019 AL Manager of the Year Award.

The voting was extremely close, as both Baldelli and Boone finished with the same amount of first-place votes, but Baldelli received four more second-place votes to swing things in his favor.

There's no denying Baldelli had an excellent debut season as the Twins' manager. Taking over for a team that won just 78 games in 2018, Baldelli led the Twins to a 101-win season and a trip to the ALDS.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar
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Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees quickly retained Brett Gardner after the 2018 season and it seems like they could strike quickly on him again.

Gardner, who is an unrestricted free agent, is in talks with the Yankees about a potential return in 2020, Jon Heyman reported on Thursday.

It would not be a surprise if a deal for Gardner got done similarly quickly to the one-year deal the Yanks agreed to with CC Sabathia during last year's GM Meetings, SNY's Andy Martino noted, calling a reunion a "no brainer."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Danny Abriano
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Clint Frazier
Clint Frazier

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Clint Frazier, his "legendary bat speed" and all, has been a magnet for attention in his young career. That doesn't figure to change this winter when the Yankees probably have to determine once and for all whether he's a trade chip or a promising cog in their outfield. 

Trouble is, there isn't an easy answer. 

Frazier, who's still only 25, was the headliner in GM Brian Cashman's widely-praised deal that sent ace reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians at the 2016 deadline. He was the fifth pick in the 2013 MLB Draft and most believed he'd morph into an offensive force. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony McCarron
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Gerrit Cole/Clint Frazier
Gerrit Cole/Clint Frazier

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In trying to predict what the Yankees might do this off-season, only one question really matters for a team that is loaded in so many areas:

Are they ready to open the vault for the best pitcher in baseball at the moment? 

I believe they are, even if it's partly as a response to public pressure to win another championship. Other than that, it looms as a fairly quiet winter for a team coming off back-to-back 100-win seasons. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin, CC Sabathia, Clint Frazier, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, John Harper
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Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (left) and relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) celebrate their win over the Houston Astros in game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (left) and relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) celebrate their win over the Houston Astros in game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Aaron Hicks underwent successful Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, he posted Wednesday in an Instagram story.

Hicks provided an update on his health and looked ahead to a return for the 2020 season, which he said would be "bigger and better."

"Surgery went well," Hicks said. "Thanks for all the prayers and support."

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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees enter the 2019-20 offseason looking to add to a team that came up just short of reaching the World Series this past season. They don't have many big decisions to make (more on that below), but have been both first and second-guessed about their continued lack of reliable ace-level starting pitching.

With Gerrit Cole about to hit the free agent market (the Yanks are expected to at least try to sign him) and other enticing starting pitching options expected to be available, the Yanks have a chance to drastically improve their rotation.

As they look to improve, the Yanks already have a lot committed to payroll for 2020 -- a number that will likely hover right around the luxury tax threshold. Their payroll obligations drop significantly starting in 2021. Here'a a deep dive...

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Jacoby Ellsbury, James Pazos, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Tommy Kahnle, Danny Abriano
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Mar 12, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) and center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) look on prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 12, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) and center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) look on prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

It was just one year ago that Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters that Didi Gregorius needed Tommy John Surgery. Fast forward to Thursday's end-of-season news conference, he deliver the same news -- this time regarding Aaron Hicks

Hicks needs the surgery to repair a torn UCL in his throwing elbow, and he'll need about 8-10 months to recover. That means the Yankees will need to prepare without Hicks for a good chunk of the first half of the new season. 

So who should fill in his center field role in the meantime? 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin, Scott Thompson
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Jul 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) at first base during game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jul 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) at first base during game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

During his end of season news conference on Thursday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman revealed that Aaron Hicks will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL in his right elbow. The procedure will take place in Los Angeles on Oct. 30, and the expected recovery is around 8-10 months.

Hicks was battling to return to the Yankees toward the end of the season after what was called a right elbow flexor strain at the time. He was performing baseball activities, but wasn't able to throw for awhile. Hicks fought through it and eventually made his way onto the Yankees' ALCS roster. 

This is the same news Cashman dropped last year in the same news conference, which involved Didi Gregorius needing to undergo Tommy John surgery as well. He returned on June 7 this season. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In the end, the Astros were a little better than the Yankees in all phases, yet with just a few clutch hits from some of their best players, as well as more dominance from the ballyhooed bullpen, the New Yorkers could have prevailed in the ALCS.

It doesn't mean Brian Cashman should overhaul this team by any means. The Astros are looking more and more like a potential dynasty: they're on the verge of winning two championships in three years, and they might well have won it all last year had Jose Altuve and a couple of other key players not been playing through injuries in October.

Mostly the Yankees need to keep knocking on the door, while hoping that Gerrit Cole leaves the Astros as a free agent and Justin Verlander starts looking his age.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle, John Harper
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees fought back, but ultimately Jose Altuve's walk-off home run ended their season, sending the Astros to the World Series with a 6-4 win. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Saturday's game

1) The Yankees gave everyone a dramatic finish but when all was said and done, the Astros left no doubt about which team was better in this series, as they won it in six games. They outplayed the Yankees in big ways and small, with stronger starting pitching, more game-changing home runs, smarter baserunning and especially sparkling defense, making some great plays that proved crucial in Game 6. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Chad Green, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, John Harper
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Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Chad Green (57) throws against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Chad Green (57) throws against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Down 3-2 in the series, the Yankees take on the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the ALCS from Minute Maid Park, with first pitch set for 8:08 p.m.

Yankees notes

Aaron Boone has elected to put Edwin Encarnacion back into the lineup at DH, replacing Giancarlo Stanton. ... Encarnacion has looked lost at the plate during the ALCS, hitting just .067 (1-for-15) with eight strikeouts and three walks. ... After his dramatic three-run home run in Game 5, Aaron Hicks was moved up one more spot in the lineup, now batting cleanup behind Gleyber Torres. ... DJ LeMahieu continues to be the engine that drives the Yankees offense. He's hitting .381 in the series, and his leadoff home run in Game 5 helped put the momentum back in the Yankees' favor.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Carlos Torres, Chad Green, Edwin Encarnacion , Giancarlo Stanton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Aaron Boone was already way out over his skis, at least from an analytics point of view. The game was in the sixth inning and he had stuffed the game plan in his back pocket because his eyes told him James Paxton was still dealing, third time through the lineup or not.

And good for Boone. If there's not room for a manager to make that type of call, based on what he's seeing, even in this analytics-heavy era, then what's the point of having him there at all?

In the end, Boone's judgment paved the way for the Yankees to get off the deck after the ugliness of Game 4 and beat Justin Verlander and the Astros 4-1 to send this series back to Houston.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, James Paxton, John Harper
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Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) watches his three run home run against the Houston Astros during the first inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) watches his three run home run against the Houston Astros during the first inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Just a few short weeks ago, it was hard to even image Aaron Hicks playing for the Yankees in the postseason. 

It seemed like an elbow issue was going to keep him working out at the minor league complex in Tampa for the rest of the year, and that the Yankees would need to wait to see hoe he came back next season in spring training. 

But somehow, with the Yankees' backs against the wall in Game 5 of the ALCS, it was Hicks delivering the biggest hit of the night, a three-run home run off of Justin Verlander that proved to be the difference in a 4-1 win over the Astros.

After it seemed like Hicks' season was over, he made sure the Yankees season wasn't over just yet. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, James Paxton
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees fought off elimination with a 4-1 win over the Astros in Game 5 of the ALCS. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Friday's game

1) In what amounted to a moment of truth for James Paxton in his first season with the Yankees, the lefty delivered the type of start Brian Cashman envisioned when he traded for him last November.

In fact, the Yankees GM was just hoping to have the injury-prone Paxton healthy come October, seeing him as a No. 1 starter, but the Big Maple had been spotty in his two

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aroldis Chapman, James Paxton, John Harper
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Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) hits a three run home run against Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) during the first inning of game five in the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) hits a three run home run against Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) during the first inning of game five in the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

Down 1-0 in the first inning, the Yankees bats woke up and answered the Astros with two clutch home runs to give them an early 4-1 lead.

DJ LeMahieu got the Yanks on the board with a leadoff home run to right center field. It's just the seventh leadoff home run in Yankees postseason history, and the first since Derek Jeter in Game 3 of the 2009 ALCS against the Angels

Tags: Aaron Hicks, DJ LeMahieu
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Injuries finally catching up

All year, the Yankees have overcome injuries. This became a point of pride for the team, and even spawned the Aaron Boone motivational phase "next man up."

But the missed time finally appears to be catching up to the offense, in a number of ways. Edwin Encarnacion, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks -- a full third of the lineup -- missed significant time late in the season, and do not appear sharp.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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Mike Tauchman (Bob DeChiara)
Mike Tauchman (Bob DeChiara)

Yankees GM Brian Cashman dropped some news on Tuesday when he said OF Mike Tauchman was fully healthy. He had been dealing with a calf injury, but has since rehabbed himself back into the conversation of a roster spot. 

But, with the Yankees already three games into the ALCS, Tauchman may not be able to be considered until a potential World Series berth. However, there is one reason why the Yanks may consider placing him on the roster right now. 

Giancarlo Stanton has been dealing with a strained quad after Game 1, and he had to sit the bench in the past two contests because of it. Little is known about how bad the strain is, but Aaron Boone has noted Stanton being available off the bench. He also said on Wednesday during his presser that no decision has been made on him just yet. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Scott Thompson
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees fell to the Astros 4-1 at Yankee Stadium, and now trail 2-1 in the ALCS. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Tuesday's game

1) The Yankees' task just got a whole lot tougher, and not just because of the math. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, John Harper
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Sep 8, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Mike Tauchman (39) walks off the field after an apparent injury during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Sep 8, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Mike Tauchman (39) walks off the field after an apparent injury during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

In the wake of Giancarlo Stanton's strained quad and possible insertion onto the IL, the Yankees may have another option to go to as they battle the Astros in the ALCS.

It was reported by Joel Sherman of the NY Post Tuesday that Mike Tauchman may be available to return from a left calf injury for the Yankees if they decide to downgrade Stanton's availability. Sherman spoke with Yankees GM Brain Cashman prior to Game 3: "He is healthy and eligible," Cashman said. "That is why he has been down in Tampa doing all his stuff."

This is a big development for a New York squad that has been riddled with injuries all season, and that had just gotten Aaron Hicks back from injury just in time for the ALCS as well.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton
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Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) delivers during the first inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) delivers during the first inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

After the Yankees split Saturday and Sunday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, New York returns home Tuesday to the Bronx at 4:04 p.m. from Yankee Stadium for Game 3 of the ALCS against the Astros.

Yankees notes

Sunday's Game 2 of the ALCS alone made the series live up to the hype. After the Yankees dominated Saturday's 7-0 win to grab Game 1, the Astros got New York back in Game 2 with an 11th-inning leadoff home run by SS Carlos Correa against LHP J.A. Happ. Correa starred for the Astros at the plate and in the field, highlighted by his sixth-inning throw home when he caught 1B DJ LeMahieu rounding third base by three steps.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Chad Green, DJ LeMahieu, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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