While the New York Yankees are anticipating the returns of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton from injuries, they can look forward to the imminent return of Aaron Hicks.
Hicks is expected to be activated off the injured list and make his season debut Monday night when the Yankees host the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Hicks will be playing his first game after getting a seven-year, $70 million contract extension in February. He injured his back during batting practice on March 1 and slowly progressed before appearing in five minor league rehab games.
The Yankees will be hoping to get the version of Hicks they saw last season. He set career highs with 27 homers and 79 RBIs while batting .248. He played in a career-high 137 games last season, but injuries have been a theme. Hicks has been on the injured list in each of his seven seasons, with 10 total stints on the injured list.
Hicks will be rejoining a team that has survived his absence, Stanton's absence since March 31 due to a biceps injury and Judge's absence since April 20 due to an oblique injury.
The Yankees are 18-7 in their last 25 games after taking two of three in Tampa Bay over the weekend. They rested Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres on Sunday and recorded a 7-1 win by scoring four times in the ninth following a 43-minute power outage.
"More guys just continue to step up," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It's not easy for us right now. We've got to grind and scratch for everything."
Baltimore won two of six meetings with the Yankees as part of its respectable 7-10 start under first-year manager Brandon Hyde. Since then, the Orioles are 7-16 but are heading to New York coming off one of their better games of late.
The Orioles waited out a nearly three-hour rain delay Sunday and then snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels when they hit four homers. Chris Davis returned to the cleanup spot for the first time since Aug. 27 and homered for the second time in three games, while Dwight Smith Jr., Stevie Wilkerson and Pedro Severino also connected.
Davis was mired in his season-opening 0-for-33 skid during the earlier meetings against the Yankees. Although he is hitting only .189, the Orioles are feeling slightly more confident about his performances of late to put him back in the middle of their lineup.
"I think his at-bats the last two weeks have been really good. He's swinging the bat with confidence. I love his approach at the plate," Hyde told reporters.
Jonathan Loaisiga (1-1, 4.50 ERA) will make his second start in place of James Paxton (left knee inflammation) when the Yankees recall him from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday. Loaisiga was optioned there following Wednesday's 10-1 loss to Seattle when he allowed four runs on six hits in four innings.
Loaisiga is facing the Orioles for the first time as a starting pitcher and making his eighth career start.
David Hess (1-4, 5.50) will start for Baltimore and hopes Monday goes better than his last start against the Yankees. He allowed three homers in five innings of a 15-3 loss against the Yankees on April 7 in Baltimore.
Hess last pitched Tuesday and took a no-decision against Boston, allowing three runs on three hits in four innings.
Hess is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three career appearances against New York.
--Field Level Media