NEW YORK -- The Yankees rolled the dice by taking the field with a one-man bench on Sunday afternoon, a plan that backfired when outfielder Aaron Hicks was forced to exit after four innings with tightness in his right oblique.
Hicks had an MRI during the 7-6 loss to the Rangers and said that he has been told that he will be placed on the disabled list, with an expected recovery time of three-to-four weeks.
"It's very frustrating," Hicks said. "I want to be out there battling with my team, and now I can't do it."
As manager Joe Girardi revealed later, the Yanks were playing short because both Matthew Holliday (allergic reaction) and Starlin Castro (right wrist) were unavailable. New York is carrying 13 pitchers.
Girardi said that Holliday will have tests after continuing to experience "a fatigue factor," something that he believes can be traced to a meal on June 17 in Oakland. Castro had a cortisone injection on Saturday in his right wrist after experiencing lingering soreness stemming from a check-swing.
"I feel good today. I'll be ready to play [Monday]," Castro said. "It's been bothering me for, like, two weeks. I just continued to play with it. I just started feeling it every time when I went to hit, and it started getting worse every day."
Castro's .315 average ranks seventh in the American League, and his 92 hits are tied for second.
"He's been productive with it, but it's just something that was kind of nagging," Girardi said. "It's not a serious injury; there's no test that we did. It's just kind of nagging. We said, 'Let's get [the shot],' because then you get more than 24 hours, in a sense."
Hicks' exit forced the Yanks to insert backup catcher Austin Romine at first base, leaving New York without a pinch-hitting option when Romine popped out in the ninth inning against Rangers closer Matt Bush.
Hicks has been playing regularly in center field while Jacoby Ellsbury recovers from a concussion. The 27-year-old switch-hitter is batting .290/.398/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in 60 games, and he said that he tweaked his oblique in his first at-bat on Sunday.
"I didn't really think too much of it. I thought I could play through it," Hicks said. "My second at-bat, I took a swing on the base hit up the middle, and that's when I really felt it."
Girardi said that it is possible Hicks' injury could accelerate Ellsbury's return to the Majors. Ellsbury is 3-for-8 with two doubles in two games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, his first action since crashing into the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium on May 24 vs. Kansas City.
"You worry about the injuries," Girardi said. "We were kind of limited with what we had today."