18-year-old impresses right out of the gate

Center fielder Aaron Hicks has a long way to go before he realizes his major league dreams, but he is showing all the skills that made the Twins select him with the 14th overall pick of the June draft.

Through 38 games with the Twins' Gulf Coast League rookie team, Hicks was batting .306 with three homers and 25 RBI. He was ninth in the league with a .402 on-base percentage and sixth with an on base-plus-slugging percentage of .872.

Twins Assistant General Manager Rob Antony was in Fort Myers last week and kept talking about Hicks' tools.

"He's a little more polished than Torii Hunter was at this stage, that's who we compare him to," Antony said. "He's a switch hitter. A strong kid who will hit for some power and will get bigger and stronger.

"If everything works out right, he's a switch-hitting Torii."

Well, Hicks has showed he is a step or two ahead of Hunter at this stage. In Hunter's first professional season, 1993, he batted .190 in 28 games with four walks and 23 strikeouts in 100 at-bats. Hicks already had 25 walks -- and 27 strikeouts -- in 38 games. Hicks also had 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts.

And it should be pointed out that while several first-round picks were still negotiating contracts with their clubs leading up to the Friday night deadline, Hicks signed relatively early this summer and is on his way as a pro.

Hicks, 18, has a lot to learn and many breaking balls to conquer. But the Twins like what they have seen so far.

"He is pretty impressive," Antony said.

System check

• Class AAA Rochester outfielder Jason Pridie saw his 21-game hitting streak end Friday when he went 0-for-4. It wasn't the longest on the team this season. Infielder Alejandro Machado recently had a 22-game streak, and designated hitter Randy Ruiz had a 24-game streak shortly before being called up to the Twins.

• The Twins want Luke Hughes to settle in as a third baseman at Rochester, especially since he had hit 17 homers in 86 minor league games, including 15 at Class AA New Britain. Hughes will participate in either the Arizona Fall League or winter ball this offseason as a third baseman.

• Class A Fort Myers righthander Cole Devries, a former Eden Prairie High School and Gophers standout, is out because of a sore lower back.

• Fort Myers lefthander Tyler Robertson has been shut down for the season because of a tight shoulder. Robertson, who flew to the Twin Cities this week for an examination, will undergo a rehabilitation program that hopefully will loosen up the shoulder.

• Fort Myers outfielder Danny Santiesteban is being converted to a pitcher. He actually homered on Thursday but had a 1.59 ERA in five appearances on the mound.

• The Twins have extended their player development agreement with New Britain through 2010.

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Minnesota «00101100X381
@Ballpark Replay
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Cleveland - LP: T. Bauer 1 FINAL
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Los Angeles 1 Top 6th Inning
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