Aaron Hicks CF MIN 3 Days

Twins' No. 8 hitter Aaron Hicks went 0-for-4 in Thursday's win, dropping his average to .170.

Hicks has walked nine times in 47 at-bats, but he's not making any sort of case to move into the leadoff spot yet. Maybe that will come later. As is, he's just fighting to stay in the lineup.

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 24 Days

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire indicated Thursday that Aaron Hicks will begin the season batting eighth in the lineup.

That's where he's hit in five of the past six Grapefruit League games. "I don't want Hicks thinking. I just want him down there swinging, not worried about where he's at," Gardenhire said. The Twins will go with Brian Dozier in the leadoff spot for now, though it's possible Hicks could eventually moves up if he hits well.

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 28 Days

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said on Sunday that Aaron Hicks will "probably" be Minnesota's starter center fielder.

"Hicksie is probably going to be in center," he said. "He's running the ball down pretty good." On Wednesday, Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony expressed irritation with both Hicks and Alex Pressley for not stepping up to seize the center field competition during spring training. Whether there was a correlation or not, Hicks spent the past few days destroying the ball, impressing with his defensive range, and perhaps running away with the CF job for good. At least, that is, until Byron Buxton arrives in the Twin Cities.

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 1 Month

Aaron Hicks singled, walked and stole a base Wednesday against the Cardinals.

He scored the Twins' only run of the game. Hicks missed time earlier this spring with a sore elbow, but he's outplayed Alex Presley while healthy. He's hitting .286 with a homer and a couple of doubles in 28 at-bats. As unimpressive as Presley has been, it's possible Hicks will be the Twins' Opening Day center fielder and leadoff hitter.

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 1 Month

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony, in an interview in which he lamented players not stepping up and seizing a starting spot, specifically referenced the center field competition.

"Hicks hasn't been anything special this spring. Neither has (Alex) Presley," Antony said. "There's your centerfield battle." The executive used that as an example after saying: "I wish somebody would step up and earn a job. Nobody's really doing that." Manager Ron Gardenhire, under truth serum, might be prone to going on a similar rant about the evaluators that have stocked his roster. It doesn't take two looks at the squad to realize that effort isn't the problem.

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 1 Month

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Aaron Hicks (elbow) should return to the lineup on Thursday.

Antony went on to label Hicks' elbow irritation as "minor," and felt only when he swings. Concern is mitigated there by the fact that Hicks has felt good in the cage over the last two days.

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 1 Month

Aaron Hicks (elbow) remained out of the lineup on Wednesday.

The switch-hitting 23-year-old experienced discomfort during his session in the batting cages on Thursday and hasn't played since. Team and player aren't rushing things, but Hicks is advised to hurry back if he hopes to beat out Alex Presley in the starting center fielder competition. Hicks logged a disappointing .192/.259/.338 slash line in 2013

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 1 Month

Aaron Hicks (elbow) took swings in the batting cage without problems Tuesday and is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday, according to Twins assistant GM Rob Antony.

This is great news for the switch-hitting 23-year-old, as he can't afford to fall too far behind Alex Presley in the starting center fielder competition. Baseball America's No. 72 prospect coming into last year face-planted to the tune of a a .192/.259/.338 slash line in 2013. He'll face lower expectations this go-around.

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 1 Month

Aaron Hicks (elbow) is out of the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Rays.

Expected to return today from soreness in his elbow, Hicks apparently isn't ready. It isn't time to panic quite yet, but the outfielder coming off a .192/.259/.338 showing in the majors is advised to hurry back if he hopes to displace Alex Presley as the team's starting center fielder.

Aaron Hicks CF MIN 1 Month

Aaron Hicks will remain sidelined until Tuesday due to soreness his elbow.

The team has a scheduled off-day on Monday, but Hicks will be given the weekend to rest after experiencing discomfort during his session in the batting cages on Thursday. He's in camp competing with Alex Presley to be the team's starting center fielder.