The Minnesota Twins activated Hicks (shoulder) from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Double-A New Britain, where he had been on his rehab assignment. Minnesota could have reinstated him on the 25-man roster or sent him to Triple-A Rochester, but the fact that he was sent to Double-A is a telling sign.
Hicks batted just .198 in 48 games with the Twins before landing on the DL, and confidence has seemingly been an issue for the 24-year-old center fielder all season. After batting as a switch-hitter for his entire career, Hicks decided in late May to ditch his left-handed swing and focus solely on batting right-handed.
Then during his rehab assignment, Hicks started batting left-handed again and has resumed switch-hitting. Struggling at the plate, Hicks has continued to change up his approach with the hope of gaining some traction.
"It's his career," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said over the weekend. "He's got to decide what's best for him right now."
Minnesota took Hicks in the first round of the 2008 draft with the 14th overall pick. He debuted with the Twins last year when he made the 25-man roster out of spring training despite never having played at Triple-A. In his first season in the majors, Hicks struggled at the plate, batting just .192 with 27 RBI in 81 games.
Hicks again won the job in spring this year, beating out several other candidates for the starting center fielder role. Yet once again, Hicks' offense was well behind his defense. His decision to ditch switch-hitting and then pick it up again was a bit of a head-scratcher. He'll now have the chance to work on his swing at Double-A, while Sam Fuld holds down the center field job with the Twins.
"If he doesn't have any confidence hitting from the right side against right-handed pitchers, there's no sense in forcing the issue," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said on Sunday. "Now he's got to get work on batting from the left side. I'm going to support Aaron Hicks on how he feels most comfortable coming up to the plate. He's still a young man, and there's still a lot of upside."
May added to Futures Game: When the rosters were announced Tuesday for the 2014 Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game, two Minnesota Twins prospects made the list. Trevor May did not.
The two Twins who were announced were pitching prospect Jose Berrios and first baseman Kennys Vargas. The Puerto Rico natives were named to the World roster for the game that will take place at Target Field on July 13. Despite an 8-4 record and a 2.94 ERA, May was left off the list.
That changed Wednesday, when it was announced that May was added to the Team USA roster. That means three Twins prospects will represent the team at next month's event.
May was acquired by the Twins prior to the 2013 season in a trade that sent Ben Revere to Philadelphia in exchange for May and pitcher Vance Worley. May went 9-9 with a 4.51 ERA in 27 starts with Double-A New Britain last year, but the 24-year-old right-hander has turned a corner this season. He's struck out 81 batters and walked 31 in 79 2/3 innings with Rochester while surrendering just four home runs.
Team USA has won the last four Futures Games. The 15th edition of the game will be held at 4 p.m. CT at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. May and Team USA will be managed by former Twins skipper Tom Kelly, while Berrios, Vargas, and the rest of the World roster will be managed by Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.