March 15, 2019 | 2:05pm
| Updated March 15, 2019 | 2:49pm
TAMPA — The Yankees could be without Aaron Hicks on Opening Day and figure to be without Luis Severino until May, general manager Brian Cashman said Friday.
“Obviously, we’re running out of time,’’ Cashman said of Hicks’ lower back stiffness before the Yankees faced Boston at Steinbrenner Field with the start of the regular season less than two weeks away. “We’ll do what’s right for us for the long haul, so I can’t say I’m optimistic he’ll be ready to go Opening Day. Because of what has transpired and the time missed, he may or may not be ready … I think he’ll be healthy by Opening Day, it’s just, will he have enough at-bats, defensive reps, conditioning in advance to allow us to plug and play him from day one.”
Hicks has been out for two weeks with what was initially believed to be something that was going to cause him to miss a day or two. He received a cortisone shot on Monday and admitted Friday the injury was “definitely” worse than he originally felt.
“I thought it would be a couple of days and I’d be ready to go,’’ Hicks said. “It just keeps coming. I had to get a shot, which you always want to [avoid]. Now we’re still grinding back.”
Hicks admitted he’d be disappointed if he’s not back for the opener in the Bronx on March 28.
“Opening Day is what you get ready for in the offseason,’’ Hicks said. “It’s exciting and you want to feel that rush … You want to be introduced with the team. It would definitely be tough [to miss it].’’
Severino will certainly not be back in time for Opening Day. He isn’t due to begin a throwing program until Wednesday after a two-week shutdown because of rotator cuff inflammation.
“I would say you’re looking at May at the earliest,’’ Cashman said of the right-hander. “He’s gonna have to start from scratch and have his spring training. If it needs to be more [time missed after May 1], we’ve got to make sure we don’t have a problem with it.’’
Masahiro Tanaka is set to replace Severino as the Opening Day starter, but the team hasn’t determined how they’ll handle the rotation without Severino and CC Sabathia. The veteran lefty has to serve a five-game suspension and then is likely headed to the injured list.
Cashman, like Aaron Boone, wouldn’t rule out using an opener on occasion and he said once again he intended to stay in-house rather than pursue one of the available free agents.
Severino said he doesn’t have a return date set in his mind, adding he no longer feels pain in the shoulder, but wants to make sure he’s completely healthy when he comes back.