BOSTON — Aaron Hicks was activated from the disabled list and hit sixth against the Red Sox on Thursday, which is a step in the right direction for the switch-hitting center fielder who went on the shelf after playing on Opening Day.
Nevertheless, the Yankees were being cautious with Hicks. Manager Aaron Boone used Hicks as the designated hitter against Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello while Brett Gardner started in center.
“It’s kind of a way to ease him back in, I guess,’’ Boone said of Hicks, who played for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hicks went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s 6-3 loss at Fenway Park and was hitless in two at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Hicks said he didn’t believe the intercostal strain was serious enough to put him on the DL, but that’s where he landed.
“I was not excited about going on the DL but now it’s in the past,’’ said Hicks, who spent two stints on the DL last year with oblique issues and is searching for ways to make sure he doesn’t continue to suffer from core muscle problems.
“Try to be more flexible and really focus on my stretching and try to be loose every time I go on the field.”
CC Sabathia was fined, but not suspended, for leaving the dugout during the brawl while on the DL, so his time away from the mound won’t be increased.
“He threw a bullpen [session] today and was fine,’’ general manager Brian Cashman said. “Hopefully, he will be in position to take a start next week.’’
Sabathia has been on the DL since leaving a start on April 6 with a right hip problem that he didn’t believe was serious enough to be shelved for.
The Yankees didn’t have an update on third baseman Brandon Drury who is on the DL with migraines and blurred vision. Boone had nothing new to report and Cashman was busy with sorting through the suspension of Tyler Austin and fines to other Yankees in the wake of Wednesday night’s brawl.
“That’s on the list of things to ask our trainer,’’ Cashman.
Drury hasn’t played since leaving a game on April 6. Miguel Andujar started the previous four games at third and went 3-for-16 with an error. Ronald Torreyes was at third Thursday night and went 1-for-3.
Mike Fiers, the pitcher who hit Giancarlo Stanton in the face with a pitch in 2014, causing fractures and lacerations, will start against the Yankees on Friday night in Detroit. Fiers was pitching for the Brewers on Sept. 11 that season when he hit Stanton, then with the Marlins. Stanton missed the season’s final 17 games.
Stanton is 1-for-5 with a double and three strikeouts against the right-hander.
Aaron Judge has 59 career home runs, which ties him for the all-time MLB record through 200 games. Judge played in his 195th game Thursday night.
The Tigers’ Rudy York did it from 1934-38 and Mark McGwire did it from 1986-88. Gary Sanchez has 56 homers in 188 big-league games.
Judge doubled leading off the seventh to break up Porcello’s no-hit bid and extend a hitting streak to 10 games.
J.D. Martinez’s grand slam off Masahiro Tanaka on Wednesday night was the fourth slam given up by Yankees pitchers this season in a dozen games. It is the earliest in a season the Yankees have given up four slams.
Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Pedro Alvarez (Orioles) and Justin Smoak (Blue Jays) have hit grand slams this year against the Yankees.