FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Aaron Hicks left the Minnesota Twins with little to debate: Hes their starting centre fielder and leadoff hitter. "I think its a pretty simple decision," manager Ron Gardenhire said after Sundays 14-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. "Hicks is going to be our centre fielder. I dont think its a shocking announcement by any means." Hicks, who played at Double-A New Britain last year, went 4 for 4 and scored three runs while raising his batting average to .350. Gardenhire told reporters in his office before breaking the news to Hicks. When did the manager plan to tell the 23-year-old Hicks? "Maybe on the airplane," Gardenhire joked, referring to the flight home for opening day. In reality, Gardenhire pulled Hicks aside a few minutes later and gave him the news. "It feels great to be named centre fielder," said Hicks, a first-round draft choice in 2008. Hicks outplayed Joe Benson and Darin Mastroianni for the job. Hicks said he received advice from players such as former Twins outfielder Denard Span. "Denard told me to relax and be yourself," he said. Hicks, who hit .271 in five minor league seasons, so impressed Gardenhire that the manager envisions him as a No. 3 hitter in the future. "Im just thankful to be the leadoff hitter," said Hicks, who was in his first big league camp. Gardenhire praised Hicks for his patience at the plate. "He showed that he has the approach to be a leadoff hitter," teammate Justin Morneau said. Joe Mauer had a three-run homer and six RBIs, and Morneau hit a two-run drive that caromed off a palm tree behind the right-field wall. Mauer homered to centre in a four-run first off Dave Bush and hit a three-run double in the fourth that chased Guillermo Moscoso, who also allowed Morneaus homer during the seven-run inning. "We know what they mean to our lineup," Gardenhire said. Luis Jimenez homered twice and drove in four runs for the Blue Jays. Twins starter P.J. Walters gave up three runs and four hits in three innings. NOTES: Bush entered 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA and allowed four runs, four hits and a walk in the first inning, then gave up a two-run homer in the second to Brian Dozier. ... Twins RHP Tim Wood has a right shoulder strain, according to GM Terry Ryan. ... Wilkin Ramirez, Brandon Boggs and Jeff Clement remain in contention for Minnesotas final roster spot. Youth Jersey Colin Kaepernick
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. "It appears that he might have hit a rut or something as he was biking in Avalon, [NJ]," said Peter A. Luukko, president and COO of Comcast-Spectacor, in a statement on Tuesday. "I know Paul, hes pretty fast on that bike so he probably went over pretty hard.WINNIPEG - Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Rick Forney announced today the signing of infielder Nate Samson and left-handed pitcher Brendan Lafferty to contracts for the 2013 season. Samson, 25, is a veteran after playing seven seasons in the Chicago Cubs organization, reaching Triple-A Iowa in 2008 and 2012. Last season he hit .271 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 75 games at Double-A Tennessee and batted .280 with three RBI in 19 games with Iowa. "Hes going to be our everyday shortstop," Forney said. "We were looking for somebody with some experience and we finally found somebody. Hes played a lot of professional baseball and still has an upside. He can play multiple positions, but hes spent a lot of time at shortstop." Samson was drafted in the 34th round of the 2006 MLB amateur draft by the Cubs out of Forest High School in Ocala, Florida. His best season came in 2008 when he batted .293 with two home runs and 42 RBI in 128 games at Single-A Peoria and was rated by Baseball America as the best defensive shortstop in the Midwest League. He has 313 games on his resume at Double-A or Triple-A. Lafferty, 26, becomes the third player to sign with the Goldeyes this season from the Kansas City Royals organization. The southpaw made 47 appearances out of the bullpen last season for Double-A Northwest Arkansas of thhe Texas League.dddddddddddd He was 1-1 with 4.77 ERA and a save. He amassed 71 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. He attended spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies after being selected by the Phillies in the 2012 Rule 5 draft, but was returned to the Royals following spring training. "Hes a quality left-handed arm and the Goldeyes are always interested in those type of guys," Forney said. "Hes either going to be a seventh or eighth inning guy or a starter. He throws strikes, so I am sure he can fill any role." Lafferty was selected by the Royals in the 18th round of the 2009 MLB amateur draft out of UCLA. He played four seasons in their system, including the last two at Double-A and competed in the Arizona Fall League in 2011. The Goldeyes have also placed left-handed pitcher Colton Pitkin and infielder Yurendell de Caster on irrevocable waivers for the purpose of granting their release. Pitkin, who was signed earlier in the offseason, has elected to retire from professional baseball, while de Caster is pursuing opportunities in the Mexican League. The Goldeyes now have 26 players signed for the 2013 season, including 14 pitchers and 12 position players. American Association teams are slated to opening training camp on May 4 and can have up to 28 players on their training camp roster. ' ' '