CHICAGO — Well, obviously Aaron Hicks needs to be playing just as often as his fellow outfielders for now, and he’s on a fast track to supplant Jacoby Ellsbury as the everyday center fielder.
Do we even need to discuss this one?
Hicks, the Yankees’ fourth outfielder in name, contributed bigly to the Yankees’ 11-6 pounding of the Cubs at Wrigley Field, another milepost in this increasingly startling campaign. As the starting center fielder, Hicks tied a career high with four hits, contributing two singles, a double and a three-run homer. For the season, the second-year Yankee now owns a ridiculous .355/.468/.710 slash line.
“We’ve talked about rotating these guys and finding time for Hicksy,” manager Joe Girardi acknowledged after the game. “He has played well all year.”
“I’m just going to be ready for the opportunities that I get,” Hicks said. “Of course, the better you play, the more opportunities you’re going to get.”
Ellsbury, who hasn’t started a game since May 1 because of a nerve problem in his left elbow, hopes to be ready to return to the Yankees’ lineup for their series finale Sunday night, when they’ll go for the sweep of the reigning World Series champs against former Red Sox nemesis Jon Lester. It stands to reason that Girardi will rest the lefty-swinging Brett Gardner against the southpaw Lester, against whom he historically struggles, with the switch-hitting Hicks taking Gardner’s spot in left field.
With mostly right-handers coming down the pike, however, Hicks must continue to play regularly, if not necessarily every day. He should start at least one of the Yankees’ two games at Cincinnati, with the Reds starting righties Rookie Davis (a former Yankees prospect) and Tim Adleman. Go ahead and give the world-beating Aaron Judge a night off. As the Yankees exemplified Saturday, when Judge — in his first time hitting cleanup — went 0-for-5, they can thrive offensively even when their Paul Bunyan…