New York Yankees left fielder Aaron Hicks was pulled from the team’s 4-2 loss to the Rays on Friday night after two defensive errors led to three runs at Tampa Bay — and a slew of vitriol from fans in the Bronx .
Trouble for Hicks began with two outs in the fourth inning. Wander Franco sliced a liner into left field, which Hicks tracked down, only to see it bounce off his glove and onto the ground. Hicks briefly stopped chasing the ball – he later said he thought it was a foul – before realizing he was in play. But it was too late as two Tampa Bay runners scored and the Rays took a 3-0 lead.
Randy Arozarena then stepped forward and sent a long flyball to the left that Hicks failed to catch, leading to another run.
Fans let Hicks hear it, showering the veteran outfielder with boos and even some “Joey Gallo” chants — a nod to the Yankees outfielder, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last month after a dismal year in New York.
Hicks was replaced by Estevan Florial in the next inning.
“I just felt like I had to get him out of there at that point, so it was just the decision that I made at that point,” manager Aaron Boone told reporters after the game.
“The second [the Arozarena hit] is really hard. And the first [the Franco hit] I thought he made a pretty good jump and ran down. Yes, it’s disappointment. There’s a feeling for him there. At the time, I just felt like I had to change something.”
Boone was asked if fan reaction to Hicks contributed to his decision.
“I think it’s all part of why I made the decision, because I felt like it had an impact,” he said. “I just felt like I had to do it.”
Hicks, meanwhile, said both flyballs were the ones he should have caught.
“I was benched during the game. It’s tough,” said Hicks, who also hit with his only two at-bats. “Especially if you only want to produce for your team.
“It is what it is. I just have to prepare for tomorrow.”
Hicks has struggled mightily for New York this season, hitting just a .212 with six home runs and 36 RBIs. He has been playing regularly lately after left fielder Andrew Benintendi broke his wrist last week.
The Rays, meanwhile, continued to gain ground in the American League East and are now 3½ games behind the first-placed Yankees with the middle game of the series scheduled for Saturday.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34559199/new-york-yankees-aaron-boone-pulls-aaron-hicks-miscues-lead-tampa-bay-rays-runs Aaron Hicks pulled midgame after defensive miscues, as Yankees manager Aaron Boone says he ‘needed to make the change’