BOSTON — A few games is hardly enough to erase what have been a mostly miserable three-plus years for Aaron Hicks.
And they won’t prevent the Yankees from pursuing an outfielder on the trade market or stop fans from clamoring for the call-up of Estevan Florial, who’s surging at the plate at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
But after hitting another homer on Saturday, Hicks has three in his last five games.
In his past five games, Hicks is 8-for-16 with three doubles, a triple, three homers, seven runs and six RBIs.
Incredibly, those seven extra-base hits are one more than Hicks produced through his first 69 games of the season.
“I’m getting the ball in the air more often,’’ Hicks said before the Yankees’ loss to the Red Sox. “I’m comfortable with being in the box. I felt rushed a lot early in the season and I’m not panicking with two strikes, which I was doing before.”
After the win Friday night at Fenway Park, manager Aaron Boone was asked what it would mean if the Yankees got the old version of Hicks back, the version that hasn’t been seen for an extended stretch because of a wide array of injuries, from a torn UCL which required Tommy John surgery to a torn wrist sheath that ended his season a year ago.
Boone said a return to form for Hicks would be “huge.”
“You look up there now at the balance of his season, he’s getting on base,” Boone said.
“Right-handed, he’s been a threat all year,’’ Boone said of the switch-hitter. “Now he’s starting to pick up steam from the left side, which is huge. It gives us balance [in the lineup].”
Truthfully, Hicks hadn’t been a threat much at all this season. He has shown flashes of promise in recent years, but there’s been little consistency. And his power was alarmingly missing (particularly since his wrist surgery) until recently.
“I had to remember how to hit certain pitches and you can only do that with reps,’’ Hicks said. “I want a high on-base percentage, but a high OPS, too. Walking is cool, but I walk enough.”
Boone has praised his ability to work counts and at least reach base during his poor stretches. Over the last month, though, Hicks displayed some signs this might be coming.
From June 7 through Friday, Hicks had played 27 games and gone 23-for-81 with four doubles, two triples, four homers and 17 RBIs to go along with 13 walks and 22 strikeouts. That was good for an OPS of .920 and allowed his season OPS to jump from a dismal .580 to a respectable .707.
And while Hicks has slipped defensively in center field, he has shown he can be solid in the corner outfield positions, which allows Giancarlo Stanton to play the smaller outfield spot, depending on the ballpark.
“He’s stepped up and is a presence in the lineup for us,’’ Boone said.
It had been a long time since that was the case, as Hicks has been a disappointment since signing a seven-year, $70 million deal before the 2019 season.
His exit velocity and hard-hit rates are still down a bit from earlier in his career and his other advanced numbers — outside of plate discipline — remain bad.