Rookie outfielder Aaron Hicks was back in the starting lineup Wednesday after being upbraided by manager Ron Gardenhire, who didn’t divulge the details of his message.
BOSTON – Rookie outfielder Aaron Hicks was back in the starting lineup Wednesday after being upbraided by manager Ron Gardenhire, who didn’t divulge the details of his message.
“It was personal thing between him and I,” Gardenhire said. “When I talk to a player like that, I don’t run him out of the dugout. You guys put the camera on and everything goes crazy. But that’s something between him and I. Something I want him to understand.
“We had our moment. It was a great moment. We were heroes on the Internet. That’s great. And he’s playing tonight. I don’t know how I did that.”
Hicks didn’t start Tuesday — part of the reason being his defensive play — but he entered in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement. Jonny Gomes flew out to center in the bottom of the eighth, with Hicks catching the ball then immediately flipping it from his glove to Brian Dozier.
After the inning, Gardenhire let Hicks have it, which was caught on camera.
“That’s what needs to be done,” Hicks said. “You see something like that — something that I didn’t know that I did — it’s important to have them talk to me, and that’s the last time I should do that.”
Hicks struck out in the first inning Wednesday but hammered a two-run single during the Twins’ seven-run second inning.
When asked if he’s hard to play for, specifically for a young player, Gardenhire joked: “Real easy. Do it my way and you’ll be fine.”
Then he added: “I wanted [Hicks] back out there playing. He’s fine. We have a belief around here that there is a right way and a wrong way to play the game. If I see something and if I don’t say anything to a player and I let it go, then I’m not doing my job. If a guy doesn’t run a ball out, it doesn’t matter who it is, and I don’t say something, then I am not doing my job. That’s not the way I was brought up by Tom Kelly in the organization.”
Clete isn’t coming
Around the same time Hicks was in the middle of his teaching moment with Gardenhire, Clete Thomas was leaving his game for Class AAA Rochester. Some added it up and suspected a roster move was in the offing.
Not so fast. Thomas had to leave the game because of a cramp in a quadriceps, according to Brad Steil, the Twins’ director of minor leagues.
Thomas is batting .346 with six homers and 17 RBI for Rochester and has not been charged with an error. While Hicks takes his rookie lumps, Thomas waits for his chance. Thomas is not on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but teams find ways to make room for players to be added.
Joe Benson, another center field candidate, also is at Rochester. He’s batting only .210, but .286 over his past 10 games.
With Darin Mastroianni (stress reaction in left foot) still in a walking boot, the Twins are left with Hicks playing most of the time in center, trying to get better.
• Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said he has scouted “a couple” of prospects who are eligible to be selected in the first-year player draft next month. The Twins have the fourth overall pick in the first round. The draft pool is considered to be not as strong as last year’s.
• Lefthander Rafael Perez, working his way back from shoulder soreness, has retired all six batters he has faced at Class AAA Rochester. But he still has a way to go before he’s ready to be considered for a call-up. “It’s a matter of … getting stronger,” Ryan said.
• Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (right side) and David Ross (left quadriceps) were not in the lineup one day after colliding in foul territory as Middlebrooks made a sliding catch.
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