Hartman: Twins' Hicks will stay in center after his game-winner

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 - 12:15 AM

The 24-year-old has struggled at the plate, but maybe his walk-off single Thursday got him turned around.

While Aaron Hicks is hitting only .170 this season with one home run and eight RBI, the Twins center fielder — who drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning Thursday for a 4-3 victory against the Red Sox at Target Field — is going to stay in the lineup, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.

Gardenhire and Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony told Hicks he needed to prepare better for each game and study the opposing pitchers more, but after the game Gardenhire pointed out that while Hicks’ average has remained low, he still is doing a lot of good things for the ballclub, including his defensive work in center field and showing patience at the plate.

Hicks’ 19 walks are tied for third on the team, but his 15 hits are ninth overall. The team wants him to be more aggressive, as he was in the bottom of the 10th when he singled home Kurt Suzuki for the winning run.

“Maybe preparing is something I need to try to do more,” Hicks said after the game. “Try to be able to make my game better and have an edge on the game.

“I don’t like the way I’ve been playing so far. But it’s something that sometimes you’ve got to go through in order to be able to make that next step into becoming a better player.”

Hicks said he is working hard to improve his average.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the batting cage working with [hitting coach] Tom Brunansky,” he said. “And I think it’s starting to pay off.”

Waiting for talent

Hicks was the Twins’ first-round pick in the 2008 draft, a high school selection out of Long Beach, Calif., who was taken 14th overall. He hit .318 in 45 games with the Gulf Coast League Twins and in 2009, he hit .251 with a .353 on-base percentage in 67 games at Class A Beloit.

In 2009 and 2010, Baseball America named him the No. 1 prospect in the Twins organization. In 2012, Hicks had maybe his best season as a pro, hitting .286 with 13 home runs, 11 triples, 32 stolen bases, 100 runs scored and 61 RBI in 129 games at Class AA New Britain.

Following that season, Hicks was considered a key part of the Twins’ minor league system. Baseball America had him ranked as the team’s fifth-best prospect behind Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Oswaldo Arcia and Kyle Gibson.

In 2013, he became the Twins’ Opening Day center fielder, but so far his talent hasn’t shown in the majors. Through 109 games with the Twins over the past two seasons, Hicks is hitting .186 with only nine home runs, three triples, 14 doubles, 34 RBI and 46 runs scored in 110 games.

Still, the Twins believe the ability and talent Hicks has shown throughout his career are eventually going to emerge at Target Field, and Hicks has to hope his game-winning hit Thursday was the first step in that direction.

Counting on Turner

Cordarrelle Patterson, the great Vikings wide receiver who won the team’s Rookie of the Year award last season, said it’s going to be exciting to see how new offensive coordinator Norv Turner is going to distribute the ball.

“He’s going to help me, and I’m going to help him,” Patterson said.

“This offense is going to fit everyone, it’s going to get the ball to everyone. It’s a new offense, so I just have to learn the offense down pat, and once I get that done, it will be the same as last year. Of course, you have to get better every year.”

Asked during the draft last week if he recalled how he felt when the Vikings gave up a second-, fourth- and seventh-round choice to get the rights to draft him, Patterson said it was kind of a blur.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 51 FINAL
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
TCU 45 FINAL
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
UNLV 61 FINAL
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close