Hicks continues his hot spring, hits three home runs

– Aaron Hicks wasn’t looking for mementos from his monster exhibition game Thursday. Nor was he expecting any.

“I don’t think I get anything,” Hicks said after homering three times in the Twins’ 10-6 victory over Philadelphia.

Not so fast. The lineup card from the game was left in Hicks’ stall by Twins director of baseball communications Dustin Morse, the first time he’s given a lineup card from a spring training game to someone.

In a few weeks, someone with the club might hand Hicks a plane ticket to the Twin Cities, and provide him with a stall in the swanky Twins clubhouse.

Hicks went 4-for-5 in his three-homer game Thursday, scoring four runs and driving in six, piling on to a strong spring training in which he’s clearly claimed the lead in the battle for the starting center-field position. His batting average rose from .318 to .407 on the day, and he’s now hit five home runs in the past three games he’s played in, the other two coming Monday against the Cardinals and Wednesday against Puerto Rico.

“Just get on base, steal a bag, help my team win ballgames,” Hicks, 23, said. “That’s all I tried to do today. Got three home runs, and we ended up winning the ballgame.”

Hicks, a switch-hitter, hit each of his three homers batting righthanded against lefty pitchers. He hit a solo shot off veteran Cliff Lee in the first inning on a fastball away that he hit to the opposite field. The second one was a solo shot off Jeremy Horst in the fifth, a fastball he pulled to left. Then he hit a two-run blast off Raul Valdes in the seventh, a fastball he tried to shoot to right field but struck really well.

“He had a good day,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Mother Nature helped but you still gotta hit it.”

Hicks stepped into the batter’s box in the eighth inning with a chance at a four-homer day.

With runners on first and third and one out, Hicks took the first two pitches for balls then took a mighty swing and missed the third pitch.

“He took that one swing and it got colder by two degrees,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Hicks worked the count to 3-2 against Phillies righthander Zach Miner before getting a broken-bat single to center, scoring two runs. Hicks said he hadn’t homered three times in a game since high school. He’s the first Twin to homer three times in a game — exhibition or otherwise — since Justin Morneau did it in Chicago in July of 2007.

“The kid leading off, wow, what do you say,” Gardenhire said.

Hicks doesn’t have the job locked up yet. An example of the reason for that came in the first inning when he fielded Freddy Galvis’ drive to the wall in right-center field and sliced his throw to third base so badly that left-fielder Wilkin Ramirez, who had jogged to short left, gathered the ball.

Hicks runs well and has a strong arm in center, and the Twins want him to play his position. Hicks walked back to the dugout after the inning expecting to hear about the throw.

“Those are things we have talked about, both sides of the ball,” Gardenhire said. “We had just talked about him relaxing. Don’t try to panic. Don’t try to do too much. Don’t try to show off your arm strength. Get the ball to the cutoff guy. He does understand the game.”

The Twins had a shot to throw Galvis out, and Hicks knew he had to hit the cutoff man.

“I understand what needed to be done and I didn’t do it,” Hicks said. “It was perfectly understandable why he got into me. That’s what needs to be done.”

There’s just over three weeks left before Opening Day, and Hicks is making a strong case for heading north with the team. Still, he’s going to have to prove he can be a complete player.

But from the first week of camp through Thursday, teammates have spoken highly of Hicks. And the wave of support could help carry him all the way to Target Field.

“He’s a fun guy to watch, man,” Twins righthander Kyle Gibson said. “He goes out there and plays hard, has a good arm in the outfield. And, as you can see, he can swing the bat.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

New Orleans 7:25 PM
Carolina
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:00 PM
Orlando
Detroit 7:00 PM
Minnesota
New York 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Utah 7:30 PM
Dallas
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Chicago 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Arizona 6:30 PM
Florida
San Jose 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Anaheim 7:00 PM
St. Louis
NY Islanders 8:00 PM
Colorado
Montreal 9:00 PM
Vancouver
(2) Florida State 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
Sporting Kansas City 7:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the Twins contact Joe Maddon about their managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close