BEHIND THE 8-BALL

The Twins entered spring training planning to have Alex Presley and Aaron Hicks compete for the center field job. Four months into the season, though, they have played six players in center and are about to add a seventh (Jordan Schafer), and this list doesn’t include either Presley (waived and claimed by Houston) or early-season backup Jason Bartlett (retired after playing only three games). How did we end up here? Here’s who has been in center for the 2014 Twins (statistics are for appearances in center only):

Aaron Hicks

43 games • .198, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 16 R, 2 SB

He has played the most innings in center, 366⅔, and has been the most frustrating to watch. A first-round pick in 2008 now back at Class AA New Britain, his talent is obvious, but he doesn’t get on base enough to prove it. He has to find his lefthanded swing.

Sam Fuld

40 games • .290, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 11 R, 10 SB

Claimed off waivers from Oakland in April, Fuld heated up once the summer started and had a .370 on-base percentage when the Athletics wanted him back at the trade deadline, giving the Twins lefthander Tommy Milone in return on Thursday.

Danny Santana

33 games • .309, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 20 R, 6 SB

The rookie has played only 18 games at shortstop, his natural position. Santana has played 258⅓ innings in center, third-most on the team, and has a chance to lead the team in innings there. Head to Canterbury Park now if you saw that coming.

Chris Parmelee

3 games • .333, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 R, 0 SB

Well, he was a center fielder in high school. The Twins have needed the right fielder/first baseman to relive those days three times this season, including a start June 29 at Texas. Parmelee has played a total of 11 innings in center field.

Eduardo Escobar

1 game • .000, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 R, 0 SB

A utility infielder to start the year before settling in at shortstop, Escobar was needed to start May 8 at Cleveland when Fuld joined Hicks on the concussion disabled list. His only other four big-league outfield appearances field have been in left. 

Darin Mastroianni

1 game • no plate appearances

The speedy Mastroianni appeared in seven games with the Twins this year, but he played only one inning in center before he was claimed off waivers by Toronto on April 22. Has spent time with the Blue Jays and Class AAA Buffalo.

La VELLE E. NEAL III