Hicks adds corners to his repertoire

Hicks adds corners to his repertoire

MINNEAPOLIS -- When the Twins sent Aaron Hicks to the Minor Leagues in June, they wanted the natural outfielder to get some experience in the corners.

He did just that, playing 13 games in right field and six in left while spending 61 games in center field. On Tuesday, after entering the game as a pinch-runner, he saw his first Major League action in right field. And on Thursday, against the Angels, he started in right field for the first time in his career.

"He's played left, he's played right and he's played center, so he's played them all [in the Minors]," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "And that's what we told him he's going to do up here."

The Twins want Hicks to play the corner positions to increase his versatility, especially with Byron Buxton, baseball's No. 1 overall prospect as ranked by MLB.com, expected to be their center fielder of the future.

Hicks enjoyed adding that versatility to his game and said it's helped his defense in center, because he's seen the different ways the ball comes off the bat from the other spots.

"I feel good in the corner spots," Hicks said. "It's actually kind of fun to play different positions rather than just being in center field. I think it's actually helped me be a better center fielder, because now I've reacted to balls in the corners. It's made playing center easier."

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.