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Hicks' recovery takes step forward

MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Aaron Hicks made a step forward in his recovery from a strained right forearm, as he faced live pitching in the batting cages without any issues before Tuesday's game against the White Sox.

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Hicks, on the 15-day disabled list since June 14, also played catch before the game and said the forearm is feeling much better. Hicks remains optimistic that he'll be ready to be activated once he's eligible on Monday.

"That's the hope," Hicks said. "Hopefully, I don't have any setbacks or anything. As of right now, everything feels good, and everything is moving along."

Hicks isn't sure if he'll be sent on a rehab assignment, but noted that if he's cleared soon, it could make sense to begin one before his 15 days are up.

"If I'm ready before the 15 days, I could go out," he said.

• Despite going 3-for-5 with three runs scored in the Twins' 13-2 win on Monday, Byron Buxton was moved back to the No. 9 spot after serving as leadoff hitter for the first time. Manager Paul Molitor debated leaving Buxton atop the lineup, but ultimately didn't like the matchup with White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija.

"The fan in me was [tempted], but it's one of those things I took home with me a little bit and I pondered it," Molitor said. "You've got to be mindful of the players who have been here and what they've earned. You're trying to try to shape that kid the right way. I'm sure he was excited to get the opportunity yesterday, but I didn't want to get caught up in the emotions of it."

• Molitor added that general manager Terry Ryan told him that Buxton's time to first on his infield single in the sixth inning on Monday was the fastest he's seen from a right-handed hitter. Buxton was clocked at 3.77 seconds.

"He straight out said it was the fastest time he'd ever had from the right side," Molitor said. "It was a little bit because he was out in front of the breaking ball and out of the box a little bit. But those numbers you don't see all the time."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.
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