Aaron Hicks thinks he'll be all healed up from offseason Tommy John surgery in time for the start of the 2020 MLB season, if the season's first pitch is in late July, as some expect.
George A King III of The New York Post asked the New York Yankees outfielder how his surgically repaired arm was feeling, and Hicks told the reporter he would be "ready to play," King wrote on Saturday.
"The plan was July to see where I am at and ready to play games," Hicks said. "For me, I want to be back to the arm strength I had before.''
The outfielder had been trying to get his body into playing shape at the Yankees' spring training facility in Florida. It's yet to be seen whether or not the shut down of that facility due to spikes in coronavirus infection numbers will change his path to recovery.
He had Tommy John surgery in October after the Yankees were eliminated from the 2019 postseason, but injuries affected his play much earlier than that. He didn't make an appearance in a regular-season game after August 3 due to a strained right flexor injury, but he was able to return for the postseason and hit a home run in the fifth game of the ALCS against the Houston Astros.
He also missed the beginning of the season with a back injury that flared up in spring training. He appeared in a total of 59 games in 2019 after playing in 137 games the year before. In that 2018 season, Hicks had a breakout campaign, hitting a career-high 27 home runs thanks in large part to also playing a career-high number of games.Hicks told King that his rehabilitation was going well and that he has been able to throw the ball 160 feet. He's also been taking batting practice and doing defensive work.
"I get better and better [throwing] every day and every week. The throwing gets stronger," Hicks said. "It is definitely coming."
He added he thinks he'll be able to go through drills where he throws to bases relatively soon. He added he's been taking batting practice for upward of two months and that he hasn't had any problems, besides "learning to hit again."
The outfielder was asked about another Yankee who is working his way back from injury in Aaron Judge. Hicks said he hadn't gotten to work much with Judge because they were staggering workout groups as a way to try and stave off the coronavirus infection.
Some around the Yankees have said his return for the playoffs last year eventually led to his needing Tommy John surgery. Hicks told King that he had a feeling he was going to need surgery either way, so he didn't regret playing in the ALCS.