In an effort to take the spotlight off Aaron Hicks’ hitting slump, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire moved the rookie down in the batting order Tuesday — twice.
Hicks was listed seventh in the Twins’ lineup during batting practice, but he was bumped down to eighth when Darin Mastroianni was scratched. Gardenhire decided to move Brian Dozier from eighth to first, dropping Hicks, who had led off in all 10 of his starts, down to eighth.
“It’s going to be a matter of whether he can relax when he gets his time to hit,” Gardenhire said. “Take all the thought process out of it and hopefully just get up there and take a whack.”
A little success might change things for Hicks in a hurry, General Manager Terry Ryan said. “I want him to have a game where you’d say, ‘OK, you ought to be able to relax now,’ ” Ryan said of Hicks, who entered the game 2-for-43 this season and 0-for-his-last-17. “Hopefully, we can get him to get a hit or two so we can put some of this behind him, so he knows that he belongs here.”
With Mastroianni out, Gardenhire will have a decision to make about the leadoff spot for a while. Dozier went 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI on Tuesday, while Hicks went 0-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored.
More on Mastroianni
Mastroianni stopped suddenly in the outfield Monday while chasing a bloop single. The abrupt move will cost him a couple of weeks.
The reserve outfielder, scheduled to play left field and lead off Tuesday, instead went on the disabled list after the game, his foot in a walking boot. Oswaldo Arcia, sent down Monday after only one game as a fill-in for Wilkin Ramirez, will return once more from Class AAA Rochester.
“We’re going to ad-lib with our outfield situation, and play him wherever we can, get him as many games as we can,” Gardenhire said.
Before Mastroianni’s injury, the Twins wanted Arcia to play all three outfield positions at Class AAA, in case he’s called upon to play center field in Minnesota someday. Gardenhire said he was impressed with his brief look at the 21-year-old slugger, and now he’ll get a longer one.
The Twins grew short of outfielders before and during the game. In addition to Mastroianni leaving the lineup, Josh Willingham missed his second consecutive game because of flu-like symptoms. That forced Gardenhire to put Ramirez into the lineup, though he had just arrived — with no sleep for two days, he said — from witnessing the birth of his daughter, Venus, in New York.
But after singling in the fifth inning, Ramirez was hit in the back by a pickoff throw and left the game.
“He got a stinger,” Gardenhire said. “He got hit right in the spine, he said, and it tingled right through his brain.”
Ramirez said after the game that he had a headache and a bruise in his back, but he should be OK by Wednesday.
So Gardenhire turned to utility infielder — and outfielder, apparently — Eduardo Escobar to play left field. Only one batter hit the ball his way, but Escobar showed off a strong arm to hold Mark Trumbo to a single.
• The deadly explosions in Boston were a reminder, Joe Mauer said, that “crazy things happen in the world, and something can happen anywhere, even if you’re careful. … You kind of have to trust that every precaution is being taken [for safety at the ballpark]. But anything can happen, even when you’re just walking down the street.”
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