TAMPA – Aaron Hicks said his right elbow felt “night and day” for how it felt in 2020, when he struggled after surgery for Tommy John’s previous child.
“I definitely feel like it’s 100 percent right now, the way I’ve been able to throw at targets,” Hicks said.
He said he sees a difference at the plate as well and believes he can score “more than 30” home runs if he stays healthy for a full season.
A year ago, Hicks said he was “a little nervous” about fully spreading his right arm when he was batting from the left side and that he was concerned about reinventing the elbow on a missed swing. .
“I’ve protected it,” Hicks said.
This spring, he “I know I’m from the left trying full swings in hopes of building power.”
Manager Aaron Boone said he hopes to compete for the last one or two spots on the bench this spring and in the bullpen.
As for Penn, Justin Wilson signed with the Yankees and met with Chad Green, talking about a 2015 trade in which Wilson sent the Tigers from The Bronx in exchange for Greene and Luis Sesa.
“I asked [Green] To thank me, ” Wilson said. “[I told him], ‘You can still be in [Triple-A] In Detroit. They try to hold everyone back [in the minors]. ‘”
Green has flourished with the Yankees since that deal and has high expectations for Wilson and the current Yankees bullpen.
When Wilson was last with the Yankees, he was part of a bull that included Andrew Miller and Dallin Betings, a pair of strikeout machines that added more than 14 batters per nine innings.
He will be joined by a pen this season, which deepens and yanks as expected.
“It’s not hard to get excited,” Wilson said Thursday of the relief corps. “We have a veteran group with some young studs.”
Wilson came to the Yankees after spending the last two seasons with the Mets all over the city. Since his one season in the Bronx, the left-hander mostly ate his sink and increased the use of his cutter and four-seam fastball.
“I used to try to throw a sinker that didn’t sink,” Wilson said. “We’ll throw all the sinks to Zac Britton and I’ll stick to the four-seam.”
Wilson plans to provide some late-inning, leftie depth, when Briton and Erolis Chapman are not available.
Wilson said he believed he was a better pitcher during his first term with the Yankees.
“I built my consistency and knowing my strengths,” Wilson said.
He has used analytics to make adjustments in his arsenal, including throwing his slow breaking ball and changing the pace repeatedly.
And they have improved their effectiveness against left-handed hitters by moving on the rubber to give a different angle.
He must be doing so now with Green and perhaps Sesa.
“It’s like quiet,” Wilson said. “[General manager Brian Cashman] Knew what he was doing [with the trade]. He brought two very nice arms.