|Minnesota (14-13) «||4||2||0||7||1||0||0||0||x||14||15||0|
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Aaron Hicks left the Minnesota Twins with little to debate: He's their starting center fielder and leadoff hitter.
"I think it's a pretty simple decision," manager Ron Gardenhire said after Sunday's 14-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. "Hicks is going to be our center fielder. I don't think it's a shocking announcement by any means."
Hicks, who played at Double-A New Britain last year, went 4 for 4 and scored three runs while raising his batting average to .350.
Gardenhire told reporters in his office before breaking the news to Hicks. When did the manager plan to tell the 23-year-old Hicks?
"Maybe on the airplane," Gardenhire joked, referring to the flight home for opening day.
In reality, Gardenhire pulled Hicks aside a few minutes later and gave him the news.
"It feels great to be named center fielder," said Hicks, a first-round draft choice in 2008.
Hicks outplayed Joe Benson and Darin Mastroianni for the job. Hicks said he received advice from players such as former Twins outfielder Denard Span.
"Denard told me to relax and be yourself," he said.
Hicks, who hit .271 in five minor league seasons, so impressed Gardenhire that the manager envisions him as a No. 3 hitter in the future.
"I'm just thankful to be the leadoff hitter," said Hicks, who was in his first big league camp.
Gardenhire praised Hicks for his patience at the plate.
"He showed that he has the approach to be a leadoff hitter," teammate Justin Morneau said.
Joe Mauer had a three-run homer and six RBIs, and Morneau hit a two-run drive that caromed off a palm tree behind the right-field wall.
Mauer homered to center in a four-run first off Dave Bush and hit a three-run double in the fourth that chased Guillermo Moscoso, who also allowed Morneau's homer during the seven-run inning.
"We know what they mean to our lineup," Gardenhire said.
Luis Jimenez homered twice and drove in four runs for the Blue Jays.
Twins starter P.J. Walters gave up three runs and four hits in three innings.
NOTES: Bush entered 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA and allowed four runs, four hits and a walk in the first inning, then gave up a two-run homer in the second to Brian Dozier. ... Twins RHP Tim Wood has a right shoulder strain, according to GM Terry Ryan. ... Wilkin Ramirez, Brandon Boggs and Jeff Clement remain in contention for Minnesota's final roster spot.
|Players of the Game|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Anthony Gose, RF-CF||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||.267|
|a- Aaron Munoz, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jim Negrych, 2B||5||0||1||0||0||1||1||.394|
|Rajai Davis, LF||4||1||3||1||0||0||0||.244|
|Chris Hawkins, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||2||.152|
|Kenny Wilson, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Josh Thole, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||3||.171|
|b- Sean Ochinko, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.200|
|Andy LaRoche, 3B||3||2||1||0||1||0||1||.250|
|Luis Jimenez, 1B||4||2||2||4||0||1||0||.233|
|Mike Nickeas, DH||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.212|
|c- Adam Loewen, PH-DH||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.083|
|Mike McCoy, SS||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||.161|
|Munenori Kawasaki, SS||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|a-flied out for Gose in the 9th|
|b-grounded out for Thole in the 7th|
|c-grounded out for Nickeas in the 6th|
|HR - Rajai Davis (2, Duensing), Luis Jimenez 2 (2, Walters, Duensing)|
|RBI - Rajai Davis (7), Luis Jimenez 4 (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - Luis Jimenez 2 (2)|
|CS - Anthony Gose (3, 2nd base by Duensing/Mauer)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Kawasaki-Negrych-Jimenez|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Dave Bush (L,3-1)||2||6||6||6||1||0||2||6.23|
|WP - Guillermo Moscoso (1), Tyson Brummett (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Dave Bush 26-16, Jeremy Jeffress 14-6, Guillermo Moscoso 11-8, Tyson Brummett 11-11, Aaron Loup 6-6, John Stilson 3-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dave Bush 3-3, Jeremy Jeffress 2-1, Tyson Brummett 4-1, Aaron Loup 2-0, John Stilson 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Dave Bush 13, Jeremy Jeffress 8, Guillermo Moscoso 6, Tyson Brummett 8, Aaron Loup 4, John Stilson 3|
|Aaron Hicks, CF||4||3||4||1||0||0||0||.350|
|Darin Mastroianni, CF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.353|
|Brian Dozier, 2B||4||3||3||2||0||0||1||.278|
|Jamey Carroll, 2B||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.286|
|Joe Mauer, C||3||2||2||6||0||0||0||.400|
|a- Drew Butera, PH-C||2||1||1||1||0||0||1||.375|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||3||2||1||2||1||0||0||.282|
|Dan Rohlfing, 1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.296|
|Trevor Plouffe, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.412|
|Ray Olmedo, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.297|
|Chris Parmelee, RF||5||0||1||0||0||0||1||.250|
|Jeff Clement, DH||4||0||0||1||0||1||1||.195|
|Brandon Boggs, LF||3||1||1||1||1||0||2||.212|
|Pedro Florimon, SS||3||1||0||0||1||0||1||.213|
|a-homered for Mauer in the 5th|
|2B - Aaron Hicks (6, Bush), Joe Mauer (1, Jeffress), Trevor Plouffe (3, Moscoso), Chris Parmelee (2, Bush)|
|HR - Brian Dozier (2, Bush), Joe Mauer (1, Bush), Drew Butera (1, Brummett), Justin Morneau (3, Moscoso)|
|RBI - Aaron Hicks (16), Brian Dozier 2 (7), Joe Mauer 6 (7), Drew Butera (6), Justin Morneau 2 (11), Jeff Clement (5), Brandon Boggs (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Drew Butera (1), Brandon Boggs (4)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|P.J. Walters (W,3-0)||3||4||3||3||2||2||1||2.08|
|Brian Duensing (H,2)||2||3||2||2||1||2||2||4.85|
|Jared Burton (H,2)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||3.52|
|Josh Roenicke (H,3)||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||5.40|
|Pitches-Strikes - P.J. Walters 30-19, Brian Duensing 21-14, Jared Burton 7-7, Josh Roenicke 13-9, Bruce Pugh 4-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - P.J. Walters 4-3, Brian Duensing 1-2, Jared Burton 1-0, Josh Roenicke 3-2, Bruce Pugh 2-1|
|Batters Faced - P.J. Walters 15, Brian Duensing 9, Jared Burton 3, Josh Roenicke 8, Bruce Pugh 3|
|Attendance - 7312|
|Game Time - 3:01|
|Temperature - 82|
|Umpires - Home - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Field Culbreth|