5/29/2014 12:25 A.M. ET
Hicks scratched with lower back stiffness
By Rhett Bollinger and Alex Smith / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made a late decision to scratch center fielder Aaron Hicks for Wednesday night's game with lower back stiffness.
This week has been an up-and-down one for the 24-year-old.
On Monday, he made the decision to ditch switch-hitting and become a full-time right-handed hitter. The move surprised Gardenhire, but Hicks went 2-for-4 that afternoon. However, he went 0-for-2 with a strikeout Tuesday night before Josmil Pinto replaced him in the lineup.
Hicks was listed in the ninth spot of the order until roughly two hours before Wednesday night's game, when Gardenhire replaced him with Danny Santana.
"He felt a tweak in his back a little bit during early BP," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "And then when he was taking regular BP felt it more. So he stopped at that point, went in and got treatment. Don't think it's anything more than a back spasm, but we'll have to wait and see."
Hicks spoke with the media after the Twins' 1-0 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night. He confirmed the team's report of back spasms, citing a similar injury he suffered while playing in the Minors.
He said that he felt fine coming to the park in the afternoon and had no issues during early batting practice. When he began regular batting practice later on, however, he felt his back stiffen up on the lower left side.
"It was uncomfortable to swing," Hicks said. "Usually swinging right- and left-handed, I usually even it out. I might've overworked it."
There is currently no official timetable for his return, and Hicks said he is not sure whether he will be available for Thursday afternoon's game against Texas at Target Field.
Hicks is batting just .195 this season, but the Twins will miss his glove.
He made a diving catch on Monday and then followed that up with what he called the best catch of his career to rob Donnie Murphy of a home run on Tuesday night.
"I looked back and saw the ball originally," Hicks said. "But as soon as I was getting ready to jump, it changed direction and I kind of had to go over my head a little bit to catch it."
The play saved a three-run home run, and while the Rangers still scored two during the half-inning, the one-run difference proved to be enough for a 4-3 walk-off victory.
Gardenhire said has seen a more laid-back version of Hicks since he made the decision to ax switch-hitting.
"He's kidding around and joking around more than ever," Gardenhire said before the injury was announced. "You can tell that he's more relaxed. There's no doubt about that."
Twins can see Arcia staying hot
MINNEAPOLIS -- Oswaldo Arcia was swinging a hot bat when he was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Monday, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire thinks Arcia can keep it going.
Arcia had a big game Tuesday night as he connected on his first homer of the season and also laced a double off the top of the wall in the ninth inning off Rangers closer Joakim Soria to help the Twins to a 4-3 walk-off win.
Gardenhire said he believes Arcia's wrist injury is in the past. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right wrist on April 9 before being activated on May 14. Arcia was optioned to Rochester after being activated with the Twins wanting him to get more at-bats in the Minors.
"I just think we have to let him get some consistency, it's been about that more than anything else," Gardenhire said. "He's battled some health things with his wrist but we know when he's healthy, he can drive a baseball. So now it's just about him getting control of his game offensively and defensively. He doesn't have to try to hit it 8,000 miles because you see when he takes a nice swing, he hits it a long ways."
Arcia said he's feeling comfortable at the plate and has been pleased with the results recently.
"I feel good," Arcia said through a translator. "I'm seeing the pitches very well. I'm very happy."
Suzuki stays in lineup; Pinto will catch Deduno
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kurt Suzuki has struggled against Rangers left-hander Joe Saunders throughout his career, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire kept him in the lineup on Wednesday. He wants to start Josmil Pinto behind the plate on Thursday to catch right-hander Samuel Deduno.
Gardenhire joked that Suzuki was due for a few hits against Saunders despite poor numbers against him, coming mostly when Saunders was with the Angels and Suzuki was with the A's.
"He's 2-for-31 with a homer so I'll just tell you the numbers, but he's catching," Gardenhire said. "He's due. He told me that last night. He told me, 'I'm due, skipper, so put me in there.' But I put him in there because he's been swinging great. He's hitting .340 off left-handed pitching for the Minnesota Twins this year, so that's what I'm going by."
Gardenhire added that Pinto will start in Thursday's day game against the Rangers, as he's been paired up with Deduno in recent starts. Deduno has fared well with Pinto this year, posting a 2.70 ERA in five appearances compared to a 4.50 ERA in six appearances with Suzuki behind the plate.
"There's definitely that tomorrow," Gardenhire said. "I wanted to try to find a way to get Pinto in there [at designated hitter Wednesday] but using two catchers is always risky. But as we go along here, I'll definitely put them both in the lineup anyways because Pinto is going to get his swings."
Pelfrey deals with shoulder soreness after rehab start
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Mike Pelfrey felt shoulder soreness after his rehab start with Triple-A Rochester on Friday and flew to Minnesota to have it checked out by team doctors on Wednesday.
Pelfrey was originally placed on the 15-day disabled list with a groin strain on May 2 and made two rehab starts with Rochester. His groin is no longer bothering him but he felt shoulder discomfort a few days after Friday's start, so the Twins removed him from his rehab assignment on Wednesday. He'll start another rehab assignment once he's cleared to pitch again.
But there's no timetable for his return to the mound. Pelfrey still needs to meet with team doctors to find out what's wrong his shoulder.
"He has to get that checked out and see what's going on there," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He came to the ballpark yesterday and reported he had some soreness and stiffness in his shoulder."
• Outfielder Sam Fuld, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion, flew to Pittsburgh to get examined by concussion specialist Dr. Mickey Collins. Fuld hasn't played since May 7 and has yet to begin baseball activities. So Fuld saw Collins for further examination. The Twins will find out more on Thursday, but the initial reports were positive.
"They were encouraged by the initial reports from the exams," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
• Top prospect Byron Buxton remains sidelined with a sprained left wrist and is only still resting it at this point. Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB.com, originally sprained the pisotriquetral joint in his wrist while diving for a fly ball in center field during a Minor League Spring Training game on March 16. He reinjured it while sliding into a base on May 8 while playing for Class A Advanced Fort Myers and still is just resting it. Buxton is expected to play in the Arizona Fall League or in Winter Leagues to make up at-bats from the time he's missed this season.
"I think we'll probably try and do everything we can to try and make up for the missed at-bats," Antony said. "If he's healthy at the end of the season, I don't see any reason he wouldn't be either playing a winter league or a fall league to try and get some at-bats."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Alex Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.