NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Hicks returned to the New York Yankees’ starting lineup on Tuesday for the first time since Aug. 3 and Giancarlo Stanton remained out for the second straight game when the AL Championship Series resumed with the Yankees and Astros tied 1-all.
Hicks took over in center field and was hitting ninth against Houston’s Gerrit Cole in Game 3. After being sidelined by an injured flexor near his right elbow, Hicks pinch hit for starting left fielder Cameron Maybin in Game 2 on Sunday night and grounded out leading off the 10th inning, then moved to center.
Limited by injuries to 18 games during the regular season, Stanton homered in the opener and missed Game 2 because of a strained right quadriceps.
“Outfield is the biggest question,” Stanton said during batting practice. “I can hit. I need to move around more and let’s see what I got.”
Manager Aaron Boone said Stanton probably would be on the injured list if this were the regular season.
“Kind of called G in right when he got here and just said we’re going to stay away today,” Boone said. “He’s going to get outside and move around a little bit more today — feel like he would be a hitter-off-the-bench option today. And then we’ll kind of see where we are again moving forward kind of day by day here.”
Rain is forecast for Wednesday, which could push back Game 4 to Thursday.
“It’s at least a little bit of an unknown and something that we’re kind of working through day by day,” Boone said, “trying to make good medical evaluations, strength, see how he’s doing out there, try and have real frank conversations with G, as well.”
Brett Gardner moved from center and replaced Stanton in left. Asked what he expected from Hicks, Boone said “a couple homers, walk” and smiled.
“The big question mark is, he hasn’t played in a couple of months, so that’s the challenge,” Boone said.
First baseman DJ LeMahieu was leading off, followed by right fielder Aaron Judge, Gardner in left, designated hitter Edwin Encarnación, second baseman Gleyber Torres, shortstop Didi Gregorius, catcher Gary Sánchez, third baseman Gio Urshela and Hicks in center. Luis Severino was on the mound.
Houston moved George Springer from right to center, inserted Josh Reddick in right, benched Jake Marisnick and started catcher Martín Maldonado in place of Robinson Chirinos.
Springer was leading off, followed by second baseman José Altuve, left fielder Michael Brantley, third baseman Alex Bregman, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, DH Yordan Álvarez, shortstop Carlos Correa, Reddick and Maldonado.
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