CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks had a second cortisone shot for his ailing back and will not be ready for opening day.
Hicks was hurt while taking batting practice on March 1.
New York manager Aaron Boone didn’t rule out Hicks returning during the second week of the season.
“There’s still a little bit (of discomfort) in there and we just want to make sure that this isn’t some thing that lingers during the season,” Boone said before Sunday’s split-squad game against Philadelphia.
Brett Gardner will shift from left to center field.
The injury also means regular designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton will get additional time in left and that both first base contenders, Luke Voit and Greg Bird, could make the roster.
The Yankees open the regular season at home March 28 against the Baltimore Orioles.
“This becomes an important week for us trying to evaluate and make the best decisions,” Boone said.
Utility man Tyler Wade will play extensively in the outfield this week.
Clint Frazier, sidelined most of last season because of a concussion, is also in the mix for a roster spot.
Hicks and the Yankees agreed to a $70 million, seven-year contract last month.
Acquired from Minnesota in November 2015, Hicks has been on the disabled list in all six of his big league seasons, nine trips in all for hamstring strains (three times); oblique strains (twice); shoulder, forearm and intercostal strains; and a concussion.
OF Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed all of last season with injuries, reported to camp. Ellsbury had been in Arizona rehabbing from plantar fasciitis. He had a physical Sunday and has resumed hitting off a tee and playing catch. “Hopefully, slowly moving towards getting introduced back to baseball activities,” Boone said.