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Back in Seattle, Hicks recalls 'frustrating time'

MLB.com @beckjason

SEATTLE -- John Hicks got his big break here at Safeco Field. It wasn't when the Mariners first called him up.

"I got called up in 2015," Hicks said. "It wasn't good."

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SEATTLE -- John Hicks got his big break here at Safeco Field. It wasn't when the Mariners first called him up.

"I got called up in 2015," Hicks said. "It wasn't good."

View Full Game Coverage

No, his break happened on his way out. It was a conversation with Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager on his approach as a hitter and what he could do to make better contact. He was 2-for-32 with 18 strikeouts as a late-season callup with the Mariners, including going 0-for-15 with eight strikeouts at Safeco Field, so he was open to suggestions.

"It was tough," Hicks said. "Obviously everyone wants to come to the big leagues and produce right away, but that didn't happen. It was a frustrating time when I was here. I was searching every day for something, and I didn't know what I was looking for. It's tough on you when you're going through something like that."

Video: LAA@DET: Hicks makes a great catch over the tarp

Hicks took the tips into his offseason that winter and all but lived in the batting cage. He then went to the Minnesota Twins on a waiver claim.

"Honestly for my career, obviously it wasn't a blessing, but it opened my eyes a little bit," Hicks said. "I changed a lot that offseason as far as my swing. Since then it's been good to go.

"It was just stuff I talked to [Seager] about. I worked a lot on it that offseason. I mean, I was hitting every day from pretty much Christmas on, just figured it out. And it clicked."

Hicks went to Spring Training and hit well with the Twins, but he was placed on waivers again nine games into the Triple-A season. The Tigers claimed him as part of their search for catching depth, but they ended up with a nice power bat in the process.

Hicks is on his third callup with the Tigers, who turned to him when they put Miguel Cabrera on the 10-day DL in April and again when Victor Martinez went on the DL last week. He started Tuesday against his old club as part a righty-heavy lineup facing Mariners lefty Angel Miranda.

"Offensively, he's been huge," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's had some big hits for us."

Worth noting

• Neither Alex Wilson nor Ausmus could point to a specific cause for Wilson's recent struggles, but Wilson's frustrations are mounting after Mike Zunino's tiebreaking home run in Monday night's 6-2 loss. Wilson has yielded eight runs over his last 7 2/3 innings.

"Sometimes you have to tip your cap, and other times you get really [ticked] off," Wilson siad. "I'm kind of right in between there, super-frustrated."

• Outfielder Jim Adduci, sidelined by a right oblique strain since May 11, could begin a rehab assignment next week, Ausmus said. He has been taking batting practice with the Tigers since last Saturday, though Ausmus said the oblique still bothers him on occasion.

• Tigers top prospect Matt Manning, Detroit's first-round pick in last year's MLB Draft, struck out nine batters over 4 1/3 scoreless innings Tuesday in his debut for short-season Class A Connecticut.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, John Hicks