COMMENTARY | The frustrating rookie season of Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks took another blow on June 10 when he landed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
It's hard to imagine that losing an outfielder hitting .179 on the season would make an impact on the lineup, but with the Twins promoting Oswaldo Arcia to take Hicks' place on the roster, there's a decision that has to be made.
Clete Thomas is the last outfielder on the roster with the ability to play in center field and Josh Willingham is entrenched in left. That leaves a battle between Arcia, Ryan Doumit and Chris Parmelee to be the team's right fielder and designated hitter.
Two-out-of-three odds are good when it comes to getting playing time, but the decision becomes difficult when you consider what each player brings to the table.
The 22-year-old Arcia played well during his 30-game stint with the Twins earlier this season. While his .255 average isn't flattering, he can add some much needed power to the lineup. Adding him to the lineup would make sure he isn't losing at-bats he would be getting in Triple-A and help the major league team at the same time.
Doumit comes into the battle at a disadvantage as he has limited experience in the outfield. What he does have going for him is that his bat has awakened after a slow start. Over his last 19 games, he's owned a .887 OPS and driven in 17 runs for the Twins.
Parmelee was expected to take off after being handed the right field job in spring training, but it hasn't happened. The 25-year-old has 11 extra-base hits on the season in 192 at-bats. He has struggled to capture the potential that Twins fans saw in September 2011 where he exploded after his major league debut.
Out of the three, Parmelee seems like the likeliest to take a seat.
It doesn't make sense for the Twins to call Arcia up and send him directly to the bench. It also doesn't make sense to take Doumit out of the lineup would be counterproductive for a team that is 14th in the American League with 54 home runs on the season.
While benching Parmelee is a tough move for a team looking to develop its younger key pieces, it may be what he needs to put things together.
Remember, it was a 25-year-old first baseman that was dragged into Gardenhire's office for a chat after a rough start in 2006 to get things together. That was Justin Morneau, who went on to win the American League Most Valuable Player award later that season.
It's obviously late for Parmelee to win the MVP award this season, but if a similar message is sent, he can be the solid player that the Twins expect him to be.
Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering the Twins on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
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- Chris Parmelee
- Ryan Doumit