Yankees' Aaron Hicks Injured, Out for 2019 Opening Series After New Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2019

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Aaron Hicks #31 of the New York Yankees bats during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field on February 25, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. The Yankees won 3-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks will miss the team's opening series of the season against the Baltimore Orioles with a lower back injury, according to Coley Harvey of ESPN.com.

Hicks told Harvey he received a second cortisone shot for his back Sunday and added he expects to be back for the team's second series against the Detroit Tigers.

The Yankees will face the Orioles in a three-game series between March 28-31, while the series against the Tigers will begin April 1.

Hicks, 29, had a breakout season in 2018, hitting .248 with career highs in homers (27), RBI (79) and runs (90). That prompted the Yankees to sign him to a seven-year, $70 million contract extension this offseason, solidifying him as the team's center fielder for the foreseeable future.

The Yankees also extended Luis Severino (four-year, $40 million), keeping two important pieces locked in place. Former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte—now a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman—spoke about the importance of keeping the team's core group together in late February, per the New York Daily News (via Harvey):

"It's huge to have a core group and guys who know how to win and want to win and are doing things the right way. I know Aaron came over from Minnesota, but when you have a core group of guys, but I know you are talking about me, Mariano, Derek and Jorge. We were all in the minors together, we were on bus trips together, just gives you a little bit different feel."

For Hicks, meanwhile, the chance to stay with the Yankees and pursue a World Series title—even on a team-friendly extension—was impossible to pass up.

"This team has World Series potential," he said. "I want to be here. The guys in the clubhouse, I want to fight for them. I want to go to war for them."

And he will, though not in the team's first series this season. With Hicks out of action, Brett Gardner will likely start the season in center field.

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