NEW YORK -- An increase in playing time seems to be agreeing with Dustin Ackley and Aaron Hicks, as the Yankees' recent rash of injuries has provided the pair opportunities to face pitching on a more consistent basis.
Ackley knocked a run-scoring single and had two RBIs in the Yankees' 10-7 victory over the Royals on Tuesday, while Hicks has heated up through the first five games of this homestand, batting 5-for-14 (.357) with a double, homer and five RBIs.
"I think they're both used to playing every day," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Ack, for the first time, became kind of a role player last year. Hicksy has always been an everyday player, whether it was as a young player or in the big leagues playing every day in center field or in the Minor Leagues playing every day there. So I think it definitely helps them."
Hicks came into the season as the Yankees' fourth outfielder, with Girardi planning on rotating his personnel often to get Hicks consistent playing time, especially against left-handed pitching.
The switch-hitting Hicks is seeing more duty because Alex Rodriguez's right hamstring strain nudged Carlos Beltran into semi-regular reps as the designated hitter, while center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is coming back slowly from a right hip injury.
"I feel like the more at-bats I get, the more comfortable I'm going to be," Hicks said. "To be able to see the ball more often is definitely helping out, especially when it comes to having a solid approach."
Ackley is filling in at first base for Mark Teixeira, who could return to the lineup on Thursday after missing two starts with a stiff neck. The Yankees have used the 28-year-old Ackley at first base, second base and in right field this season.
"It feels awesome, just the fact that we're getting opportunities now, and I think that will help us down the road when we do get these guys back," Ackley said. "We'll be able to get in there and give consistent at-bats when some guys are getting days off. I'm excited to be in there now, and I'm just going to take it day to day and continue to be excited about my at-bats."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.