A fiery post-game talk didn’t do the trick over the weekend, so on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone went with a new lineup to spark the Yankees.
Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier and Rougned Odor were replaced by Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman and Mike Ford, who is starting at first base against the Atlanta Braves in The Bronx. Ford was called up from the alternate site to take the recently retired Jay Bruce’s place on the roster.
And Boone added Hicks might be out again Wednesday.
“Maybe a couple days to take a step back and get some work in and make adjustments he wants to make,’’ Boone said. “I’m taking it day-to-day right now. The bottom line is, if we’re gonna be the team we expect to be, Aaron Hicks is gonna be right in the middle of that and play a huge role for us. Frankly, nothing has changed in my mind other than he’s one of the guys that has gotten off to a slow start and would benefit from a day off and possibly two. I’ll see where I’m at [Wednesday].”
With the Yankees facing Atlanta right-hander Charlie Morton, the moves were hardly unexpected, as Hicks and Frazier have struggled throughout the season and the Yankees were looking for more lefty bats.
But they were significant nonetheless, as Frazier is now clearly in a lefty-righty platoon with Gardner and the switch-hitting Hicks, who was penciled in as the No. 3 hitter in the beginning of the season but has fallen out of favor.
Both Hicks and Frazier also had rough days in the outfield in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, a defeat that extended the Yankees’ losing streak to five games and forced general manager Brian Cashman to speak out in support of his team — and Boone — on Monday’s off day.
The addition of Tauchman in left field, along with Gardner in center, addresses some of the Yankees’ defensive woes and gives them more speed in a lineup that hasn’t done anything well in the opening weeks of the regular season.
Gleyber Torres remained at shortstop, with DJ LeMahieu at second base and Ford at first and Odor on the bench.