Hicks, CC join ALCS roster; Voit, Wade off

October 12th, 2019

HOUSTON -- The Yankees revealed their roster for the American League Championship Series on Saturday afternoon, with outfielder and left-hander both listed as active players for the best-of-seven set against the Astros.

In corresponding moves, the Yanks have removed first baseman and infielder/outfielder from the 25-man roster that completed a sweep of the Twins in the AL Division Series. Voit and Wade did not appear in any of the three games against Minnesota.

The switch-hitting Hicks believed that his season might have been over a month ago due to a right flexor strain, but while resting at home in Arizona, Hicks resumed throwing on his own and sent a video to the Yanks’ training staff.

After rehabbing at the club’s complex in Tampa, Fla., Hicks put himself in position to be considered for the Yankees’ postseason roster. Manager Aaron Boone said that the decision to carry Hicks was made following the club’s workout on Friday evening at Minute Maid Park, during which Hicks threw and took batting practice from both sides of the plate.

“It was such a difficult decision,” Boone said. “We feel confident that he's healthy, and we know how good of a player he is and how impactful of a player he can be. But there's the little bit of the unknown, just that he hasn't played. He was able to get 10 to 15 sim at-bats down in Tampa. Hopefully that prepares him, and then we'll see how his role potentially evolves over the series.”

During the New York's ALDS sweep of Minnesota, Cameron Maybin was utilized as a defensive replacement for left fielder Giancarlo Stanton in each of the three games. Boone indicated that, due to the short left-field dimensions in Houston, he likely would continue to use Maybin for defense rather than inserting Hicks in center field and shifting Brett Gardner to left.

“It could change depending on the game, but if it's the same kind of scenario, I just like Cam going straight into left in this ballpark, where it's a little smaller,” Boone said. “I love Gardy in center right now and how he's been. To turn that card over in this ballpark, where left field is a lot less to cover, I probably wouldn't do it that way. But [Hicks] could very much easily be in this game.”

Sabathia, who will retire at the conclusion of the Yankees’ season, made one relief appearance in September before being shut down with left shoulder discomfort. A starting pitcher throughout his stellar 19-year career, the Yanks plan to use him as a situational left-hander or to pitch relief in shorter stints.

“I feel like, physically, he's in a pretty good spot -- as good as he's been in a while,” Boone said. “How does he bounce back [after an appearance]? That's probably the biggest unknown right now with CC. We'll kind of see as we go.”

Wade was sent to Tampa before the flight to Houston, with the club having decided it would carry 13 pitchers. That raises the possibility that the Yanks could be caught short without infield help, though Boone said he could have Edwin Encarnacion or Austin Romine handle duties at first base, freeing DJ LeMahieu to play elsewhere.

The decision to leave Voit off the roster went down to the wire, and Boone said that it was “a difficult conversation to have.” Voit hit .263/.378/.464 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs this year, but he hit only .200/.319/.338 with two homers and eight RBIs after Aug. 30.

“He was disappointed, understandably,” Boone said. “It can flip on a dime and you're right in the middle of things tomorrow based on a number of things that could happen. [Voit is] still very much in play if we're able to get past this and enter the World Series.”

Here is the Yankees' full ALCS roster:

Pitchers (13): Zack Britton, Luis Cessa, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, J.A. Happ, Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Loaisiga, Tyler Lyons, Adam Ottavino, James Paxton, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka

Catchers (2): Austin Romine, Gary Sánchez

Infielders (5): Edwin Encarnación, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela

Outfielders (5): Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Cameron Maybin, Giancarlo Stanton