It was Hicks' first career pinch hit home run, the icing on the cake that was the Yankees' 9-1 drubbing of the White Sox. The win completes an 8-1 home-stand, an impressive opening to the Stadium schedule.
Hicks hit his homer in the bottom of the eighth, and during the inning Michael Kay and Al Leiter discussed the fact that Hicks has been taking grounders in the infield during workouts. Officially the fourth outfielder, his competition with Aaron Judge for the right-field job was well-documented, as was his dejection at having lost it.
After the final out was made in the top of the ninth, Hicks, who had taken over for Jacoby Ellsbury in center-field, met Judge and Brett Gardner behind second base. The camera showed a jubilant Judge, obviously waiting to celebrate with his fellow outfielders. Unfortunately, Hicks did not appear to be in the mood for as big a celebration as Judge was. Why was that?
Hicks' struggles last season seemed to stem from the fact that he wasn't used to playing as sporadically as he did. Once he got more playing time later in the year, his numbers improved. Obviously, the presence of Judge meant Hicks would, once again, play sporadically. I would hate to believe that Hicks is blaming Judge for a decision made by management.
While he probably isn't blaming Judge, Hicks has to be frustrated, even with Girardi risking questions about Starlin Castro's health by pinch-hitting Hicks for him. The Yankees are doing everything they can to get Hicks into games, and are even working him out at other positions. Still, I feel a little sorry for him. Though he hit one to the sticks last night, he's kind of stuck in the sticks, too.