With Baltimore Orioles All-Star outfielder Cedric Mullins injured over the weekend, the team signed former New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks as a replacement.


The former Yankees outfielder didn’t waste any time making his impact felt.


Hicks was removed from Wednesday’s game against the Guardians due to muscle cramps (probably due to inactivity), but before he departed Hicks had a sparkling debut for the O’s, reaching base in all three plate appearances with a walk and two singles in a 12-8 slugfest loss to the Cleveland Guardians.


With Mullins expected to be out for a few weeks with a groin strain, Hicks could be a dark horse signing. The Orioles aren’t looking at it as only a fill-in while Mullins is on the mend, but per reports, team brass believe the Yankees may have given up on the talented Hicks too soon.



Groin Injury Sidelines Orioles MLBbro All-Star Cedric Mullins | Provides Opportunity For Recently Released Aaron Hicks



Team Optimistic With Hicks Signing


On Tuesday, Orioles executive vice president and general manager, Mike Elias expressed optimism of Hicks, while talking to reporters via the Baltimore Sun.


“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective that, as I’ve said before, it’s very different from looking at the back of a baseball card. We hope that we get a bounce back from anyone that we bring in here.”


“You may not get a great outcome on everything, but we see stuff with Aaron Hicks that we like, and it feels good like a good fit for us. I hope this is a shot in the arm for him, and I hope he helps us out and helps us win some games.”


On Wednesday, Elias expanded on those sentiments in an interview with Brian Kenny, prior to Aaron Hicks starting in centerfield and hitting sixth in the lineup against the Cleveland Guardians.


“The thing we like about him is the defense,” Elias raved. “He can switch-hit and gives us a left-handed option. We didn’t have a left-handed option from the centerfield position while Cedric is hurt, on this roster. He manages a really good at-bat. Real good swing decisions and he’s always drawn his walks so hopefully joining the Orioles this fun team that we have, a change of scenery, gives him a shot in the arm and he’s the right guy at the right time for us.”


The fact that Hicks could barely get any playing time on the Yankees and was thrown right into the fire with a Baltimore team that has a better record is a sure sign that Baltimore brass thinks that Hicks has more bite than bark left in his stick.


Elias Contacted Hicks’ Agent As Soon As Mullins Got Injured


Elias says once Mullins went down with the groin pull, he called Hicks’ agent and told him the team needed Hicks’ services and he would play right away. That was naturally music to Hicks’ ears.  Elias didn’t seem too concerned about Hicks’ struggles prior to his release in mid-May. 


“I don’t think (the groin injury) is too bad,” Elias told Kenny. “We got an MRI and thankfully it doesn’t look too severe. what I can say right now it’s probably best measured in weeks instead of months in regard to how long Mullins will be out.” 


 “But we’ve got some internal options, Elias added, “who can play centerfield. We brought in Aaron Hicks, who gives us another option from the left side.” 



 Elias says Hicks’ experience and talent is needed right away because Baltimore’s outfield prospects are also injury-riddled at the minor league level. 


 “So we’re in a bit of a rough patch right now with Cedric being hurt, but every team goes through that.” 




Hicks Struggles In The Bronx Leads To Designation For Assignment


For Hicks it was a three-year struggle in the Bronx for the outfielder, but his 2023 start was icing-on-the-cake. After batting .188 with one homer, five RBI and a paltry .261 on-base percentage in 28, the Bronx Bombers decided that the relationship wasn’t up to par anymore and designated him for assignment on May 20th.


Hicks didn’t last there long with Mullins getting hurt, and now he’ll have an opportunity to show some of the things he can do for a surprising 35-20 Orioles, who currently have the third-best record in MLB behind the Tampa Bay Rays (39-18) and Texas Rangers (35-19).


Orioles Manager Brandon Hyde also likes the versatility that Hicks provides.


“Aaron’s got a lot of centerfield experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”


While no one will confuse Hicks for the dynamic Mullins, he can help the team immensely by hitting for average and getting on-base when called upon as he exhibited in his first game witht he team. If he can show the promise that he displayed last year in New York when he had a 15-49 June stretch with a .286/.386/.408 slashline — that also included three homers and eight RBI, his best stretch of ball while in a Yankees uniform — then Hicks could play himself back into good graces with the baseball Gods. 



Hicks is no longer the 27-homer and 79 RBI guy he was in 2018, and the Orioles know that, but they believe he still has enough left in the tank to at least be the guy who had that hot stretch last season. Adding Hicks was just a prorated $480,000, and the Orioles believe their bargain pickup could pay huge dividends for their very young, and steadily rising team.

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