Aaron Hicks gets booed as he struggles in first Yankees start

Aaron Hicks finally got some desired playing time on Monday, with the outfielder making his first start of the season, but it hardly went as planned.

He was booed by the Stadium crowd as soon as his name was announced in the lineup and then even more loudly following a strikeout in the bottom of the fifth, when the Yankees had a six-run lead.

It got no better when he grounded out in the seventh.

As Harrison Bader gets closer to returning from the oblique injury that’s sidelined him since spring training, the Yankees’ outfield situation has continued to be murky — and it’s left Hicks “definitely frustrated,” as he said on Saturday.

Hicks has been outspoken about his displeasure with his role since last season. Aaron Boone didn’t provide much clarity Monday, other than to say Hicks was among those “fighting for playing time.”

Asked if he’d spoken with Hicks about his displeasure with a lack of playing time, Boone said, “a little bit. We’ve had our conversations.”

Aaron Hicks strikes out against the Yankees on Monday.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Franchy Cordero also got his first start of the season and the lefty swinger had the hardest-hit ball of the night, a fifth-inning double.

“He’s tantalizing,’’ Boone said of the 28-year-old, now with his fourth organization. “We got a glimpse tonight. The ball really jumps off his bat.”

The Yankees have six stolen bases in their first four games, taking advantage not only of the new larger bases MLB is using this season, but the addition of the speedy Anthony Volpe to the lineup.

Boone said he expects their stolen base attempts to still be “situationally based,” as they have been in the past, but “that situation has probably risen now with the new rules and new bases. We’ll evolve the best way we can.”

He also noted that despite a lack of overall speed a year ago, the Yankees finished eighth in the majors with 102 stolen bases.

The new rules, which also limit pickoff throws to encourage more running on the bases, “seem to be a positive thing happening and so far served us well and impacted us well.”

With seven attempts in the first four games, the Yankees entered Monday on track for 283 attempts over the course of the season, which would blow by the 135 attempts they had a year ago.

Volpe and Gleyber Torres lead with three swipes apiece.

Right-hander Ian Hamilton joined the Yankees bullpen on Monday after Jhony Brito was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

The 27-year-old Hamilton had appeared in 15 games in the majors over parts of the previous five years, most recently with the Twins last season and pitched 1 ²/₃ scoreless innings on Monday.

After signing with the Yankees in January, Hamilton tossed nine shutout innings in spring training.

Jhony Brito pitches during the Yankees' win over the Giants on April 2.
Jhony Brito pitches during the Yankees’ win over the Giants on April 2.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

Boone said the Yankees were impressed with Hamilton’s fastball velocity and command, as well as his slider/changeup that Boone referred to as a “slambio.”

“It’s a good pitch,’’ Boone said. “It has unique action and movement. Usually unique pitches are, a lot of times, good because hitters don’t see very often.”

Brito heads back to the minors off of a terrific MLB debut on Sunday, when the 25-year-old tossed five scoreless innings against San Francisco.

Boone said the Yankees may need a fifth starter again on April 12 in Cleveland. Since that’s less than 10 days from Brito being sent down, he wouldn’t be eligible to make that start.

Ron Blomberg threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Monday’s game to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the former Yankee becoming the first DH in MLB history.

source: nypost.com