The New York Yankees‘ breakup with Aaron Hicks was sour, but now there may be an explanation for why it happened.
The Yanks inked the outfielder to a seven-year, $70 million deal ahead of the 2019 season, but injuries and poor play almost immediately followed.
He was designated for assignment last season and signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
For a brief time, Hicks was in the upper echelon of center fielders in baseball, but his play declined and the Yankees moved on from him.
Hicks has always been an avid golfer. Last week, he competed at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions celebrity tournament, which New York Mets utilityman Jeff McNeil won.
There was a rumor floating around the Yankees thought Hicks’ golf game was causing his injuries. So, they tried to get him to give up the clubs.
“I don’t know if this is true or not, but Aaron Hicks used to play in this event a few years ago, and the Yankees told him he had to stop because they thought that’s why he was getting injured,” former MLB catcher AJ Pierzynski said on the “Foul Territory” show Thursday.
“I don’t know if that’s true or not, but there was a rumor … that they told him he had to stop playing golf.”
Hicks’ former Yankees teammate and show co-host Todd Frazier said there is “no chance” the rumor is true.
“There was guys that would struggle, and their hitting coach would be like, ’Go golf. Go.’ And they’d come back, and all of a sudden, they got their swing back.”
Pierzynski said he was told to hit golf balls when he struggled.
Hicks, a scratch golfer, is married to former LPGA player Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods. The outfielder once recorded a hole-in-one on a par four at Silverleaf in Scottsdale in 2021.
Hicks hit .188 with a .524 OPS with the Yankees last season, but he had a resurgence with the 101-win Orioles, hitting .275 with an .806 OPS.