For the first time all season, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone was able to write Aaron Hicks' name into the lineup as the leadoff hitter and the center fielder on Monday -- only to see his debut get pushed back.
Instead, Hicks is expected to make his season debut Tuesday when the Yankees host the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Hicks was activated off the injured list Monday before the scheduled game was postponed after a two-plus-hour delay due to rain and unplayable field conditions after water spilled into left field as the tarp was being removed. That game will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader Wednesday.
Hicks is returning after missing more than two months with a strained back and playing in five minor league rehab games. He was injured on March 1 -- shortly after signing a $70 million, seven-year extension -- and needed two cortisone shots during his recovery.
The Yankees will be hoping to get the version of Hicks they saw last season. The switch-hitter 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 IL.
"I feel like he's one of the most underrated players in the game," Boone told reporters. "So to get him back, we're obviously very excited."
Hicks is rejoining a team with 13 players on the injured list. Despite the injuries, the Yankees are 18-7 in their last 25 games after clinching a series in Tampa Bay with Sunday's 7-1 win.
Baltimore endured its second straight lengthy delay Monday before the game was postponed. On Sunday, the Orioles endured a delay of nearly three hours and snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
The Orioles went 2-4 against the Yankees during their respectable 7-10 start to the season. At 14-26, Baltimore is two games better than it was through 40 games last season.
Chris Davis hit one of Baltimore's four homers in Sunday's 5-1 home win over the Los Angeles Angels, batting cleanup for the first time since Aug. 27. Davis is batting .290 with five homers and 15 RBIs since April 13 and was slated to bat cleanup again Monday.
"I hope he continues to swing the bat the way he's been the last couple of weeks," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told reporters Monday afternoon. "I think his approach has been fantastic and I'm looking to see more good things."
If Davis is in the lineup again Tuesday, he will face J.A. Happ, who is coming off his best outing of the season.
Happ is 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA but on Thursday, he held the Seattle Mariners to one hit in five-plus innings of a 3-1 win.
The left-hander is 7-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 22 career appearances (21 starts) against the Orioles. Happ allowed three home runs in 8 1/3 combined innings in two starts against Baltimore on March 31 and April 6.
Andrew Cashner (4-1, 4.25) will start for Baltimore with a shot at surpassing win total from his 4-15 season in 2018. After giving up six runs in four innings of the season opener in New York on March 28, he was won four straight decisions.
Cashner last pitched on Wednesday and allowed one run in six innings during a no-decision against Boston.
The right-hander is 2-4 with a 4.01 ERA in eight career starts against the Yankees.
--Field Level Media