5/14/2014 8:45 P.M. ET
Hicks back in center after meeting with Gardenhire
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- A day after having a meeting with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire about his production this season, Aaron Hicks was back in center field on Wednesday against the Red Sox.
Gardenhire said he met with Hicks before Tuesday's game against the Red Sox with Danny Santana, a natural shortstop, making his first career start in center field over Hicks.
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."
Willingham may begin rehab assignment Friday
MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Josh Willingham is scheduled to take batting practice before Thursday's game against the Red Sox, and if all goes well, he'll start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Friday.
Willingham, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a small fracture in his left wrist, has been taking batting practice on the field without any issues in recent days. There's no exact timetable for his return, as the Twins want to make sure he's healthy and productive before he's activated from the DL.
"We don't have a timetable, but he's going to have to prove he's healthy, and show that's he ready to help us," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
Right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who has been on the DL since May 2 with a strained groin, is also scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Friday with Rochester, and will start against Triple-A Columbus. Pelfrey is already in Rochester and has been throwing bullpens without any issues, according to Antony.
Suzuki, Pinto get rare start in same lineup
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire usually shies away from using two catchers in the same lineup without having the benefit of a third catcher on the roster, but he bucked that trend on Wednesday against the Red Sox.
Josmil Pinto made the start at catcher while Kurt Suzuki served as designated hitter, as both have been swinging hot bats. Gardenhire said Suzuki will catch again on Thursday with right-hander Phil Hughes starting for the Twins.
"Pinto needs at-bats and I wanted him to hit," Gardenhire said. "And tomorrow is a day game and I wanted Suzuki and Hughes to work together again. And Suzuki is swinging great, so why take him out? So I just put both of them in there."
In the past, Gardenhire has been wary of putting two backstops in the lineup because if the starting catcher gets hurt and has to be replaced by the DH, the Twins would have to let their pitchers hit or use pinch-hitters the rest of the game. That's why Gardenhire liked having Chris Herrmann on the roster as a third catcher and backup outfielder, but Herrmann struggled offensively and was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday.
"If something happens, we'll change it and ad lib the rest of the game and go from there," Gardenhire said.
Arcia activated off DL, optioned to Triple-A
MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was activated from the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday.
Arcia, who was on the DL retroactive to April 5 with a sprained right wrist, played in 12 games at Triple-A Rochester while on a rehab assignment. He hit .308/.349/.487 with four doubles, a homer and six RBIs with his lone homer coming on Tuesday.
"More swings is what they told me, they called me to tell me we were going to option him to let him get more swings in," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He hit a home run yesterday, I saw. But he also had a couple strikeouts, so we want some more consistent at-bats. He also has taken himself out of games with some wrist soreness, so I think the big thing here is making sure he's healthy and letting him play for an extended period here."
Arcia must remain down at Triple-A Rochester for 10 days after being optioned unless a player is placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Twins want to see Arcia cut down on his strikeouts, as he's struck out 11 times in 43 plate appearances.
"He needs to play," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He hit a home run yesterday, but needs at-bats. He's not on his game offensively. But the good news is he's playing hard."