'Premium athlete' Harrison Bader's defense will show up in Yankees' wins and losses, Aaron Boone explains
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said outfielder Harrison Bader can make a "huge" difference for the New York outfield in his first full season with the ballclub.
"We're getting an elite player out there," Boone said Monday after the Yankees' first workout of spring training.
"When you have a guy that plays in the middle of the field, center field, those guys that are elite, it shows up in wins and loses," the manager said. "We feel like we got a really good one that can patrol that out there, hopefully, that makes us more dynamic, too, in the corners."
Boone added that he felt like defense was a strength for the Yanks last year and feels "very confident that that's going to be the case this year and when you have a premium athlete in center field like Harrison, and as fundamentally sound as he is at one of those premium positions, it will be huge for us."
The Yankees manager was later asked about another outfielder, Aaron Hicks, and said he hopes he can bounce back from a tough 2022 after struggling at times in left field.
"I thought when I moved him to left field last year, I thought he did a good job of transitioning mid-season into left field," he said. "I thought he overall played a solid left field out there. Obviously, last season on the balance was a tough season for him. And hopefully the adjustments he's made."
Boone added that Hicks appears to have recovered from the knee injury that ended his season and has "come in physically in a good spot."
"And when you're physically in a good spot and you have talent, and you know you got popped in the mouth a little bit there," Boone said, "hopefully that's something that can be a motivating factor to get him back to a level we know he's capable of playing."