Yankees’ Aaron Hicks to have surgery, out several months

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks will have surgery for a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist that could sideline him for the rest of the season.

Hicks will be out for months, New York manager Aaron Boone acknowledged, but he didn’t want to speculate about whether the switch hitter has a chance to return this year until after the operation.

“It’s going to be a while,” Boone said.

Hicks was scheduled to fly on Saturday back to Arizona, where he will have the procedure.

The 31-year-old Hicks is batting .194 with four homers, 14 RBIs and a .627 OPS in 32 games. He was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday, retroactive to May 13, and the club initially tried to treat the injury with medicine – knowing if that wasn’t effective, Hicks likely would need surgery.

“I don’t think he’s in a lot of pain, but he feels it,” Boone said. “It doesn’t allow him to swing the bat the way he needs to.”

Brett Gardner started in center field Friday night as the Yankees opened a home series against the Chicago White Sox, who arrived in town with the best record in the American League.

Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton is also on the IL with a left quadriceps strain, and Boone said he’d rather keep Aaron Judge in right field.

Center fielder Ryan LaMarre was promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Hicks went down, but subsequently hurt his hamstring and landed on the injured list.

“We’ll just have to figure it out on the fly a little bit,” Boone said.

Touted prospect Estevan Florial, who made his major league debut last year, could be a long-term option in center.

“He’s certainly in play, and we’re very comfortable with him as far as from the coaching staff’s standpoint. We’ve been with him a lot. We know him well. So, we’ll cross that bridge if we have to at some point,” Boone said. “But nothing is imminent there.”

Meanwhile, corner outfielder Clint Frazier (neck) was out of the starting lineup again after missing the previous three games.

In the afternoon, Boone said Frazier told the staff he was ready to play. But first, he was scheduled to meet with team physicians before the game.

Pitching coach Matt Blake and first base coach Reggie Willits returned to the team. They had been away after testing positive for COVID-19.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.