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Aaron Hicks could return Wednesday vs. Phillies

Aaron Hicks' 2019 spring has already been one to celebrate after signing a new seven-year extension to remain in pinstripes, however, back stiffness has kept him out of competition after his first four games of the year.

That could change on Wednesday, as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that Hicks will visit a doctor on Monday and will not play Tuesday, but could return to the lineup on Wednesday when Bryce Harper and the Phillies travel to George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Hicks "ran, played catch and took swings from both sides of the plate" on Sunday, Hoch reports, and will hope to be back in action for Wednesday's must-see exhibition match-up.

"Slowly, day by day gets better. It feels like I'm making progress," Hicks told George A. King III of The Post last week. "I've dealt with back pain before, but it wasn't like this. I feel good about the way I'm progressing. Obviously it's slow, a little slower than I want it to be, but I feel like I'm heading in the right direction."

Among all American League centerfielders in 2018, only one - Mike Trout - posted a higher WAR than Hicks (4.7), who enjoyed career-high marks in games played (137), hits (119), runs (90), home runs (27), RBI (79), walks (90) and OPS+ (123).

The Yankees, who acquired Hicks from the Twins in a 2015 trade for catcher John Ryan Murphy, hope to watch Hicks fulfill his All-Star level potential over the course of his extension, which will pay him $70 million over the next seven seasons.

"This organization is so big on making players the best they possibly can, that's what I love so much about it," Hicks said after his extension was announced. "I'm happy to stay here."