Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A mixed bag of Aaron Hicks

This awkward moment: Aaron Hicks is tagged out on
his 10th-inning steal attempt Tuesday night.
Aaron Hicks started in center field Tuesday. He had a very nice catch in right-center at the wall, a play I'm willing to assume the other center fielders the Twins have deployed this year wouldn't have made; he made; he beat out an infield hit in four plate appearances; he twice made outs with men in scoring position (hardly unique); and he was thrown out on a "steal attempt" that was actually a failed hit-and-run with Brian Dozier.

Hicks is filling the roster spot created when Shane Robinson went on family emergency leave, which lasts three to seven days, That's a short-term situation, but Hicks's status might not be short term. The Twins have a lot of outfielders on or just off the major league roster right now plus Eduardo Escobar playing a lot of left field.

I can't presume to know how this is going to shake out over the next few days, but I would think that the guys on the shakiest ground are Eddie Rosario and Jordan Schafer, two left-handed hitters who sat against a right-handed starter on Tuesday while Escobar and Hicks started.

One other observation: Tuesday's game was a lot of regression going on. The Twins -- who had been hitting .310 with runners in scoring position -- went hitless in RISP situations. And Kyle Gibson, who had just 11 strikeouts on the season entering the game, fanned six men in seven innings. He had, and used, a good change-up to get those whiffs; he either doesn't have that change-up most starts or doesn't trust it enough. But that's the pitch that can solve his strikeout problem.

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