Yankees plan to activate Hicks on Monday

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The New York Yankees plan to activate center fielder Aaron Hicks before Monday's homestand opener against the Baltimore Orioles.

Hicks hurt his back during batting practice March 1 and needed a pair of cortisone shots. He went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a homer for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, leaving him 3 for 18 in five minor league injury rehabilitation games. The RailRiders were rained out Sunday.

The 29-year-old centerfielder agreed to a $70 million, seven-year contract in February.

Acquired from Minnesota in November 2015, Hicks has been on the injured/disabled list in all seven of his big league seasons, 10 trips in all for hamstring strains (three times), oblique strains (twice), back, shoulder, forearm and intercostal strains, and a concussion.

Catcher Gary Sánchez and shortstop Gleyber Torres were both out of Sunday's lineup against Tampa Bay as the Yankees took a conservative approach with the nicked-up players.

Sánchez was hit hard on his catching helmet by Guillermo Heredia's backswing Saturday night in the eighth inning but stayed in the game.

"Was considering a DH day for him today but then felt like it was best to have him out of there," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Went through some testing last night. He came in this morning feeling good, so I think we're good to go there. Probably a good day to give him a day."

Torres played Saturday, one day after getting hit by a pitch on the right elbow.

"Getting hit by that pitch the other night didn't affect him all swinging the bat," Boone said. "Felt like he was a little sore throwing the ball from short yesterday. Getting with him last night, felt like it was a good day to give him a day."

The Yankees have 12 players on the injured list, including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Luis Severino.

New York acquired infield depth by claiming Breyvic Valera off waivers from the San Francisco Giants and optioned him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

In a corresponding 40-man roster move, Greg Bird was transferred to the 60-day IL. The first baseman is sidelined by a left plantar fascia tear.

Valera hit .257 in 24 games with Sacramento of the PCL. He has appeared in 37 major league games with St. Louis, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore in 2017-18, hitting .216 (16 for 87).

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