Aaron Hicks went on the IL last week with a flexor strain in his right elbow. The Yankees avoided relative disaster when they said that his UCL was damage-free and would not require Tommy John surgery, but they still have to be careful.
Flexor injuries are tough in their own right and can often be a precursor for injuries such as a torn UCL, so they have to proceed with caution.
Hicks had his first follow-up appointment Monday afternoon with the team doctor. He said beforehand that he felt pain-free and was hopeful to be cleared to throw yesterday, but he was not cleared. This isn’t a setback, though. The Yankees reiterated that he remains ahead of schedule and that they’re optimistic he’ll return. He would have been absurdly ahead of schedule if he were cleared to begin throwing yesterday, though.
We’re already almost halfway through August, so I would imagine there’s basically zero chance for Hicks to return before Sept. 1, though the Yankees probably prefer waiting for rosters to expand so they don’t have to send someone down in his place. The same could be said for Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, and Giancarlo Stanton.
I have no idea what the likelihood is that Hicks can throw after these two weeks. If he is re-evaluated and cleared then (Aug. 26), then it would probably take a week of doing “baseball activity” before they’d want him facing live pitching. AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s regular season ends on Sept. 2, however, so they may be facing a similar situation to what they faced with Aaron Judge in 2018 where he returned too late to do proper rehab games and will have to do it in games that count. That stinks, but the Yankees are fortunate that they have the division locked up nicely and can afford to have a rehabbing Aaron Hicks work on his timing in real games, even though they’d prefer him not to have to do that.