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Hicks still a work in progress

KANSAS CITY -- Center fielder Aaron Hicks continues to be a work in progress for the Twins. There have been flashes of brilliance from Hicks, but consistency at the plate continues to be an issue for the 24-year-old, who entered Sunday's series finale against the Royals with a .179 batting average.

On Saturday, Hicks turned in an impressive first plate appearance when he showed the discipline to draw a bases-loaded walk from Bruce Chen. But Hicks finished the day 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

"It looked like he got flustered [Saturday]," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We don't want him to get into that mode."

The Twins want to make sure that Hicks doesn't take any offensive struggles with him to the field. He did make one highlight-reel catch in deep right-center Saturday to save right fielder Chris Colabello. But when left fielder Jason Kubel lost a routine fly ball in the sun, Hicks wasn't around the ball as he should have been.

"He's a kid and we talked to him about it," Gardenhire said. "It's a learning experience, always. Just don't get caught by not backing up [another fielder]. Just go play the game. [Saturday] was one of those rough ones for him, I thought. He did make a great catch, and I know that's what everybody remembers. But there were about four other plays where we were like, 'Just go.' He wants to do well and he's trying hard. We've had lots of conversations about playing through this stuff. There are good at-bats and bad at-bats."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to
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