Twins reinstate Hicks, promote Darnell
Outfielder sidelined since Aug. 19 by hamstring strain
HOUSTON -- The Twins reinstated outfielder Aaron Hicks from the 15-day disabled list on Friday, while also recalling left-hander Logan Darnell from Triple-A Rochester.
Hicks, who had been sidelined since Aug. 19 with a left hamstring strain, went 7-for-17 (.412) with a home run during a four-game rehab stint with Rochester. The 25-year-old was hitting .268/.318/.411 with eight home runs and nine stolen bases in 69 games with Minnesota before the injury.
Hicks started in center field and hit leadoff in the Twins' 8-0 loss to the Astros on Friday, going 1-for-4 with a single, as Byron Buxton was given the night off. Twins manager Paul Molitor said he plans to mix and match with Eddie Rosario, Torii Hunter, Shane Robinson, Hicks and Buxton.
"It just gives me depth and options," Molitor said. "We have five guys out there now we can use as we feel appropriate on a given day. Aaron's return is big for us. We saw such tremendous progress on how he played, particularly on the offensive side. His stint down there at Rochester went smoothly. He played all three outfield positions and swung the bat well."
Molitor said when Buxton starts he'll be in center field, so Hicks will see time in the corner-outfield spots. Hicks said he's more comfortable in right than left, but said he's fine wherever Molitor plays him. Hicks was also pleased with his rehab assignment, as he picked up right where he left off after hitting .281/.333/.477 in his last 41 games before the hamstring strain.
"Injuries are part of the game, so you just try to come back and get hot again and help the team win," Hicks said. "I just stayed with my same approach [in Rochester]. I got my timing first. And then I was able to continue to feel good at the plate."
As for Darnell, who is the Twins' No. 26-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, he joins the Twins after racking up a 2.78 ERA over 35 outings (seven starts) with Rochester. The 26-year-old southpaw posted a 0.82 ERA over his last five starts after moving into the Red Wings' starting rotation in mid-August.
He's stretched out and gives the Twins another arm with closer Glen Perkins not on the road trip because of a back strain. Twins general manager Terry Ryan saw Darnell pitch in Rochester last week and recommended him.
"With Perkins being down and the fact you look at all the people we have in the bullpen with [J.R.] Graham out, we don't really have length with a guy who can give you more than two innings on a given day," Molitor said. "So he's a nice option to have. He's been in the rotation as of late, and Terry said it was the best he's seen him throw."
Darnell saw time with the Twins last year, but said he was still not expecting a callup, especially when he wasn't one of the five initial September callups on Tuesday. He's expected to be the last pitcher called up, but the Twins are likely to bring up another position player, Molitor said.
"I definitely was surprised," Darnell said. "I wasn't expecting it. I just kind of figured it was my last start of the year and didn't think much of it. But then they took me out earlier than expected and they told me they might need me up here so that's why they took me out."