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LB In MLB: Wilson’s Aaron Hicks Plays Hurt For New York Yankees

Wilson High alum Aaron Hicks wasn’t even supposed to be in the New York Yankees postseason lineup because of an injury, but he ended up being the hero in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series last weekend.

Hicks, 30, had been placed on the 60-day injured list in early August with a nagging elbow ailment that would possibly need Tommy John surgery. Instead, he took video of himself throwing the ball, sent it to the Yankees, and then returned to the spring training facility about two weeks ago to prove he could contribute in the playoffs.

The Yankees struggled to score runs this postseason, and it looked like they would waste another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the first inning of Game 5 against the visiting Houston Astros. With two runners on and two outs, Hicks quickly fell behind 0-2 to Justin Verlander, but worked the count full on high fastballs.

“The first three pitches seemed to go kind of quick. I just felt like I just needed to slow down and see the ball,” Hicks told Mike Axisa of CBS Sports. “I think I got two fastballs after that up in the zone and I saw them very well. I needed a fastball to get comfortable. And then that’s kind of where the confidence started to build that all I need to do was see the pitch, see the pitch and read the pitch. And that’s what I’ve been doing this whole postseason is kind of seeing the ball and reacting.”

Verlander tried to catch Hicks off guard with a 3-2 slider, but Hicks turned on it and bounced a 3-run home run off of the right field foul pole.

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This is the definition of a momentum shift.

“I knew I hit it well,” Hicks told CBS. “I felt like I stayed inside the ball well enough for it to be fair. And that’s kind of like my thing, staying up on home runs like that, especially when I know I’ve got it. It definitely had a lot more spin on it than I thought. But it was able to stay fair and put us up right there.”

Eventually the Astros eliminated the Yankees, but Hicks showed the entire league how dedicated he is by coming back to hit his second career postseason home run.

“It was to a point where I got my second opinion and it was the worst thing to hear, to hear you’re going to have Tommy John and your season is going to end is something,” Hicks told CBS. “Good thing I was messing around in the backyard with my buddy and kind of started throwing because if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have this opportunity to play in the postseason, and grind and try to win with my team.”

Unfortunately, Hicks will still have to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament he was playing through, and will miss the first part of the 2020 season.

The Yankees have Hicks signed thru 2025 on a seven-year deal worth $70 million.

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.