When speaking to reporters prior to the game on Thursday night Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that they expect to see Aaron Hicks and Tyler Austin begin rehab assignments next week after the current homestand is over after the game on August 2.
Hicks was placed on the disabled list on June 26 with right oblique strain. Before the injury, he was hitting .290/.398/.913 over 200 at bats. A far cry from the .217/.281/.336 he hit in his first season with the Yankees.
Austin went on the DL on June 29 with a right hamstring bruise, that was just days after being called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He also missed a portion of the beginning of the season due to a fractured left ankle he suffered just before the start of spring training.
Before going down with the injury, Austin had just 13 MLB at bats hitting .154/.200/.585 with two hits and a home run. In the minors, he was hitting .316/.388/.588 over 114 at bats in 32 games between Double-A Trenton and the RailRiders.
Prior to the game on Wednesday Girardi noted that Austin and Hicks were at about the same point in their rehab.
“Hicks and Tyler Austin have begun to take some swings off the tee,” Girardi said according to NJ.com’s Joe Giglio. “…Tyler and Hicks are probably on the same page. When we’ll get them back, I don’t know. But they’re progressing well.”
The destination for the rehab has yet to be announced but the Trenton Thunder will be home August 4-6, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will be home from August 1-6. The Tampa Yankees are on the road at St. Lucie next week. Those are the three likely destinations for the rehab assignments to take place.
It is a rarity that the Yankees send a player to rehab at a lower level, but in case they do they do have options as the Charleston RiverDogs are home from July 31-August 6. If they prefer to keep the players in NYC, the Staten Island Yankees have a three-game homestand from August 2-4 then go on the road to Connecticut.
Though one thing is for sure once Hicks is ready to return the Yankees will have a tough decision to make. With Clint Frazier playing well in the big leagues it will be detrimental to the team to send him down. As we noted before it might be time for the Yankees to bite the bullet and trade away Jacoby Ellsbury and eat a portion of that contract to make the team better.
Austin’s versatility and minor league options allow his return to be a much smoother process. But things could change once we pass the trading deadline.