Gardenhire said Hicks has to do a better job of being prepared for every game, including looking at more video, and said Hicks was receptive during the meeting. Hicks is hitting just .160/.303/.235 in 27 games this year, but got the start against left-hander Felix Doubront, because the switch-hitter has fared better as a right-handed batter throughout his career.
"Hicksy needs to play and he's supposedly better right-handed," Gardenhire said. "We're going to keep mixing and matching and see where we stand. We had a nice meeting yesterday and talked about a lot of things. And he went out there and worked hard, so we'll see how it goes. But it's more comforting having a real center fielder out there even though Santana was OK."
Gardenhire wouldn't rule out Hicks being sent down to Triple-A Rochester if he can't find his swing soon. But fellow center fielder Sam Fuld remains on the 7-day concussion disabled list, and felt worse on Wednesday than he did on Tuesday, so his return date is still in question.
"Hicksy is supposed to be our center fielder, so we gotta see if he can play and get going," Gardenhire said. "If he can't, we have to make adjustments."