HOUSTON -- The hugs seemed to last a little longer in front of Aaron Hicks' locker in the visiting clubhouse at Minute Maid Park on Saturday evening, with good reason. The Yankees outfielder was told weeks ago that his season should be over, with Tommy John surgery having been recommended.
Hicks, of course, had other plans for his October. Having rehabbed his damaged right ulnar collateral ligament, Hicks showed enough to appear on the roster for the American League Championship Series, and his three-run homer in Game 5 on Friday night played a large role in pushing the series back to Houston.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone embraced Hicks after the club’s season-ending 6-4 loss to the Astros in Game 6, offering some words sotto voce while television cameras captured the scene.
“He just appreciated the fight, me working my way back and wanting to be on this team, wanting to play in the playoffs with this team and these guys,” Hicks said. “He said he definitely recognized the fight that I wanted to be here.”
Hicks injured his throwing elbow in an Aug. 3 game against the Red Sox, and after an initial consultation with team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad produced a diagnosis of a right flexor strain, the 30-year-old switch-hitter was sent to Los Angeles in early September to be seen by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
ElAttrache’s opinion, Hicks confirmed after Game 6, was that he should undergo Tommy John surgery. Instead, Hicks returned to his Arizona home and rested for a brief period before resuming throwing, sending a video to the Yanks’ training staff that displayed enough promise to green-light his return to the club’s complex in Tampa, Fla.
Hicks went 2-for-13 (.154) in the ALCS, working four walks against five strikeouts. He said that he does not anticipate requiring surgery.
“Right now, it feels all right. We'll see,” Hicks said. “For me right now, I don't see myself having Tommy John. I was throwing the ball around pretty well. So I don't think so.”