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Hicks starting to show signs of improvement

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite a slow start to the season that has him hitting just .086 entering Friday, rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks is starting to show signs that he's ready to turn it around.

Hicks has reached safely in his last seven games and has a .458 on-base percentage over that span thanks to eight walks. He saw his streak of seven straight games with a walk end on Thursday against the Rangers, but did go 1-for-3 with a single.

Hicks, who was moved down from his leadoff spot on April 15, has shown plenty of patience so far this season, as his 11 walks lead all rookies, but he has just five hits.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, though, said those hits will start to come if he continues to work himself into hitters' counts.

"There's no doubt his confidence [is better]," Gardenhire said. "You would see him in the dugout when he was really scuffling, and mentally you could see him fighting it. But he's to the point where I'm not worried about him anymore. He's walking and going deep in counts. He still has a lot to learn and about situational baseball, but we're trying not to throw everything at him at once."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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