Twins sputter, Gardenhire irked at Hicks' effort

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 11, 2013 - 11:38 AM

Rookie Aaron Hicks compounded his struggles at the plate with a lack of hustle, drawing his manager’s ire.

view larger photos



– Aaron Hicks’ problems got a lot worse on Wednesday, and it had nothing to do with another 0-for-5.

The rookie center fielder struck out three times and hit two routine flies to the outfield during the Twins’ 3-0 loss to the Royals, dropping his batting average to just .057 to start his career. But the lack of success at the plate didn’t bother manager Ron Gardenhire, who professes great patience with a rookie trying to figure out the big leagues.

But when his frustration boils over into a lack of hustle? That angers Gardenhire a lot more than a 2-for-35 start.

Hicks hit a pop fly into short center field in the seventh inning, and he jogged around first base as Lorenzo Cain waited for it to come down. Cain, however, closed his glove early and dropped the fly ball. Hicks stopped at second base — and probably was fortunate to be that distance away from his manager.

“I can’t handle that. I haven’t talked to him about it, because I always have to calm down before I talk to people,” Gardenhire said after Kansas City finished off its first sweep of the Twins since April 2011. “Not finishing running that ball out, hesitating, kind of slowing down, that bothers me an awful lot. I don’t care what you do on a baseball field, it takes no talent whatsoever to hustle, and he didn’t run it out. We finish balls off. We always run. That’s probably part of [Hicks’] frustration factor, but I can’t live with that. So I’ll have my conversation” with him.

Hicks, who didn’t play Tuesday, has struck out in the eight games he has played, and whiffed five times in two games here. Gardenhire, however, has remained resolutely behind his rookie outfielder, who won the job by hitting .370 with four home runs in spring training. “We’re just going to keep running him out there,” the manager said Wednesday.

There is one Twins who won’t be running out there this weekend, but his identity won’t be known until Saturday, when lefthander Scott Diamond rejoins the Twins rotation. His return means a current member of the rotation is headed to Class AAA Rochester — and Liam Hendriks did his best to strengthen his case to stay.

Perhaps pitching for his stay-out-of-Triple-A life, the 24-year-old Australian held the Royals to just one run over five innings in cold, windy, miserable Kauffman Stadium, though the one mistake was enough to drop him to 1-11 on his career. That’s because the Twins loaded the bases in the first two innings without scoring, then stranded another half-dozen runners on the night, going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

“I definitely didn’t hurt my chances, though throwing 94 pitches didn’t help,” said Hendriks, who allowed a Billy Butler solo home run in the first inning, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second, then finished with three strong innings. “I limited the damage.”

General Manager Terry Ryan hasn’t said how he will make room for Diamond, but Hendriks and lefthander Pedro Hernandez — who staked his case on a three-run, five-inning start on Sunday in Baltimore — are almost certainly the pitchers at risk.

“It’s going to be a nervous couple of days because of the weather,” not his job status, Hendriks joked. “I’ll just sit back and wait. You don’t want it in your head, ruining your off day. I’ll go out like I’m going to be here.”


  • related content

  • Twins' Plouffe quickly becoming a target for opposing pitchers

    Thursday April 11, 2013

    The Twins’ third baseman is getting a little recognition, a sort-of tribute, from opposing pitchers these days. And it hurts a little bit.

  • Gardenhire: Slumps are forgivable, subpar effort is not

    Wednesday April 10, 2013

    Manager grows angry as he discusses center fielder's jog to second base

  • Game recap: Royals over Twins

    Thursday April 11, 2013

    GAME RECAPImpact playerBilly Butler, RoyalsCannoned a first-inning fastball onto the batter’s eye in center field, the lone run surrendered by...

  • The Twins’ Chris Parmelee connected for a broken-bat single in the sixth inning, but he was promptly erased on a fielder’s choice.

  • Liam Hendriks kept the Twins in the game, giving up one run and four hits over five innings, but his teammates stranded 12 runners and struck out 11 times.

  • Royals designated hitter Billy Butler, right, celebrated his first-inning home run with Mike Moustakas.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Bottom 3rd123456789RHE
Minnesota201      330
Colorado00      010
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
HR: MIN- E.Escobar (3) COL- None


Chicago WSox 3 Top 7th Inning
Cleveland 0
Atlanta 2 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
NY Yankees 1 Top 4th Inning
Baltimore 0
Arizona 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
San Francisco 0
St. Louis 5 Top 3rd Inning
Milwaukee 0
Miami 1 Top 3rd Inning
NY Mets 0
Boston 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Houston 0
Minnesota 2 Top 3rd Inning
Colorado 0
Toronto 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Tampa Bay 1
Detroit - R. Porcello 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Washington - S. Strasburg 6:15 PM
Philadelphia - C. Hamels
Pittsburgh - C. Morton 6:15 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
LA Angels - J. Weaver 6:15 PM
Texas - M. Mikolas
San Diego - I. Kennedy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - P. Maholm
Oakland - J. Chavez 9:10 PM
Seattle - H. Iwakuma
Colorado 6:00 PM
Houston 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chicago 6:30 PM
New England
Sporting Kansas City 6:30 PM
Chivas USA 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Winnipeg 34 FINAL
Montreal 33
Ottawa 11 FINAL
Edmonton 27
Calgary 5:30 PM
Brt Columbia 8:30 PM
Edmonton 7/17/14 7:30 PM
Toronto 7/18/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 7/18/14 9:00 PM
Montreal 7/19/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Washington 7:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: What are you most looking forward to during All-Star festivities?

Weekly Question