Hicks' slow start might prompt lineup move

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 14, 2013 - 11:14 PM

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to consider moving Hicks down in the batting order, a step he has resisted so far.

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Against the Mets on Saturday, Twins leadoff hitter Aaron Hicks struck out three times.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

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Aaron Hicks’ body language the past few days “tells me he’s really searching for answers, and it also tells me he’s probably pressing,” the rookie’s manager said Sunday. And that has caused Ron Gardenhire to consider moving Hicks down in the batting order, a step he has resisted so far.

“We’re still trying to find the best way to go about this, whether it’s dropping him down in the batting order or whatever we might have to do,” Gardenhire said Sunday on 1500 ESPN. “If that’s the right thing to do, find a spot that’s more comfortable — that’s kind of what we’ve looked at. I don’t know yet.”

Hicks opened the season with 11 consecutive hitless at-bats before collecting a single, went 13 more at-bats before his next hit, and is currently on a 17-at-bat hitless streak, making him 2-for-43 on the season. He has led off in all 10 games he has played and has struck out 20 times, the most in the majors.

“How long we’ll be able to sit here and watch him scuffle, that’s the big question. We want to do what’s right for our team, but also for this young man. He’s a big part of our future,” Gardenhire said. “You definitely can’t let him just totally bury himself too deep here; he’s getting there already. I have all the confidence in the world in this young man. ... But he’s a little overwhelmed right now, so we’ve got to try to figure out the right thing to do.”

One problem, Gardenhire said, is that “there’s not a prototype [leadoff] guy” on his roster, other than Hicks. “You could try someone like [Brian Dozier], but he’s not a leadoff guy either, really. Joe Mauer is the one that could probably do it the best, but I would hate to have him hitting first. But nothing is out of the question right now.”

Easy weather call

The Twins have played about half their games in inclement weather this April, but Sunday’s freezing rain, snow flurries and low-30s temperatures were too much for fans and players to endure, the team decided Sunday morning.

The final game of a three-game series with the Mets was postponed until 1:10 p.m. Aug. 19, adding an eighth game to a seven-game homestand at Target Field.

Tickets for Sunday’s game will be honored at the makeup game, the Twins announced, or fans can exchange their tickets for vouchers good for any other game. Those vouchers must be redeemed at least 48 hours in advance, the team said.

It’s the sixth postponement in Target Field history, and the first since April 28, 2012.

Break in the rotation

With Sunday’s rainout pushing back pitching assignments by a day, and with a day off scheduled for Thursday, the Twins will go nearly two weeks without needing a fifth starter.

Pedro Hernandez, who remained on the staff after Liam Hendriks was sent to Class AAA Rochester on Saturday, will make his next start on April 23 against Miami, 13 days after Hendriks’ last start in Kansas City.

The Twins’ pitching plans for the next three series: Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley will pitch against the Angels this week, and Scott Diamond, Correia and Pelfrey will start in Chicago against the White Sox over the weekend.

Worley and Hernandez will face the Miami Marlins at Target Field.

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