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Updated: April 11th, 2013 2:15pm
Twins will continue to support and encourage struggling Aaron Hicks

Twins will continue to support and encourage struggling Aaron Hicks

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Minnesota Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks is off to a nightmare start in his first week as a major leaguer.

After another 0-for-5, three-strikeout performance in Kansas City last night, Hicks is now hitting just .057/.108/.057 in 37 plate appearances.

And it's not like Hicks is hitting the ball hard and just getting unlucky. He is tied for the major league lead with 16 strikeouts and also drew the ire of manager Ron Gardenhire for not sprinting out of the batter's box on a seventh-inning pop-up.

So, with an off day Thursday before a three-game series against the New York Mets at Target Field this weekend (weather pending), what will the Twins do with the struggling Hicks?

"Easy answer," general manager Terry Ryan said Thursday. "We will continue to support and encourage Aaron to take it one day at a time.

"There are a lot of players struggling at the start of the season but, eventually, we are hoping Aaron breaks out of it."

Ryan would not speculate on how close Hicks is to a demotion to Triple-A Rochester, but the replacement options in center field aren't plentiful. Darin Mastroianni would presumably take over the starting job in the short-term, but down in Rochester Clete Thomas, Brandon Boggs and Oswaldo Arcia profile more as corner outfielders. Joe Benson simply isn't ready.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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