Hicks allowed an unearned run on two walks and a hit batsman over two-thirds of an inning in a Grapefruit League tie with the Astros on Wednesday.

Making his second appearance of spring after a 22-pitch battle of wills against the Mets' Luis Guillorme encompassed the first Sunday, Hicks once again put together a rather unusual performance. The flamethrowing right-hander worked himself into trouble with an error on a comebacker and some notable control issues, but manager Mike Shildt kept things in perspective when evaluating Hicks' second taste of game action in 21 months. "I think it's just getting back into competition in over a year," Shildt said. "I thought it was a fantastic outing. Ton of soft contact, around the plate again. I was really, really, really pleased with Jordan."

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