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Aaron Hicks isn’t returning to Yankees’ lineup anytime soon

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BALTIMORE — Aaron Hicks is still not close to returning from the injured list to help a decimated Yankees lineup but according to manager Aaron Boone, the center fielder and leadoff hitter is making progress.

“[Thursday] I believe he is starting baseball activities. He will be throwing [Thursday],’’ Aaron Boone said of Hicks who hasn’t played since March 1 due to a lower-back problem that was believed to be minor, but has required two cortisone injections. “It’s been about a week or so where he has been feeling really well coming in every day.’’

Because of what Hicks means to the Yankees in the field and at the plate, the club is taking it slowly.

“They obviously have been treating it conservatively because we don’t want to have any kind of setbacks,’’ Boone said before the Yankees’ 8-4 victory over the Orioles on Thursday. “A lot of the stuff he has been doing is treadmill stuff and core strengthening and feel like he is in a good place to start baseball activities and hopefully we start to ramp him up. I believe he is throwing [Thursday] and he will graduate to tee and toss.’’

Boone said he didn’t anticipate Hicks needing a full six-week spring training to get back, but said he is going to need more than a few games.

“I don’t think it will be six weeks, but he has to get some at-bats and once he gets back to the point where he is playing in [minor league] games it’s not going to be just five or 10 games. He is going to have to play some and get built back up.’’

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