The Yankees have moved to within a half game of the first place Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East while most of their big bats have been on the injured list. Now they’re starting to get some of those bats back. Today New York activated outfielder Aaron Hicks. He will start in center field and bat leadoff against the Orioles.
This will be Hicks’ 2019 debut following a couple of months on the shelf due to back problems. The Yankees are hoping that he will resume his 2018-level production in which he hit .248/.366/.467 (123 OPS+) with 27 homers, 79 RBI and 11 stolen bases. That production earned Hicks a seven-year, $70 million extension this past offseason.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has been suspended and fined for his actions during Thursday’s doubleheader against the Rays. Boone was ejected from Game 1 after making contact with home plate umpire Brennan Miller and will not be available to manage the Yankees during their series opener against the Rockies on Friday.
The ejection was triggered by a missed strikeout call in the second inning of Game 1, prompting Boone to run out to home plate and deliver one of his lengthier and more bizarre rants of the season. Incensed by Miller’s shaky grasp of the strike zone, Boone repeatedly referred to his players as “f***ing savages” and told the umpire to “tighten this s**t up.”
Exactly when the illicit contact came into play remains unclear, but crew chief Gerry Davis later commented on the situation and said Boone had crossed some boundaries during his tirade. Per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch: “You’re not allowed to argue balls and strikes, so yeah. Yes he did [go too far]. That will all be in the report.”
In his own statements to the press, Boone defended his use of the word “savages,” claiming, “I always just want our guys all the time controlling the strike zone and making it hard on the pitchers. That’s something those guys take a lot of pride in as a lineup.” Several Yankees players, including Luke Voit and Aaron Judge, backed up the skipper’s decision to confront Miller as well, though Voit was the only player to explicitly support Boone’s use of the term.