OAKLAND — Aaron Hicks showed up to Camden Yards in May and immediately made an impact. He had just been released by the Yankees, and he filled an important hole with center fielder Cedric Mullins on the injured list.
Now the team, which has become accustomed to his veteran presence in the outfield, will have to get by without him again for the near future.
Hicks was placed on the injured list Saturday with a back strain and will be shut down for the next few weeks. It’s his second stint on the injured list, having just returned from a left hamstring strain Aug. 14. He started in left field that night but left after the seventh inning after he felt his back tighten.
Hicks had spasms and, although he has been improving, he wasn’t making enough progress to avoid the injured list.
“It’s disappointing,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think the right thing to do is to shut him down for a few weeks and get him right. He’ll be back here when the IL stint is over.”
Hicks has thrived in his new environment in Baltimore, hitting .261 with six home runs compared to .188 with just one home run during 28 games in New York this year. The Orioles were looking forward to having an outfield with Mullins in center and Hicks in left, but the two have been healthy at the same time for just three games.
In the meantime, the Orioles have brought back Ryan McKenna, who will start in right field Saturday against the Athletics with Anthony Santander also experiencing back issues.
McKenna, recalled for the third time this season, has hit .248 with 14 RBIs in 74 major league games this year. The Orioles have other options — including No. 2 top prospect Colton Cowser, who was just optioned Aug. 14 — but they went with McKenna, for now, to allow more development time.
“We know a lot about McKenna and what he can do,” Hyde said. “Excited to have him back.”