That exhale you heard and smile you saw around 3:25 from downtown Minneapolis was just Twins leadoff hitter Aaron Hicks as he basked in a standing ovation after picking up his first career hit, a single in the eighth inning that drove home two runs in an inning that saw the Twins blow the game open finishing with an 8-2 win.
Up until that point, the three game MLB debut of the much touted kid in center field had been less than impressive. In his first 11 at bats, he struck out seven times including three looking and the pressure continued to mount with each at bat. Hicks was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts before his fifth plate appearance netted him his first major league hit.
"Now that I got it out of the way I'm able to relax more, and I'm not pressing" said Hicks after his teammates dumped a cooler of ice water on him. "Big props to my team for the opportunity to even come up to hit. I think I was like seventh and I appreciate the team getting me up to hit."
Standing in the shadows at first base, Hicks gave a big exhale and tried to remove his batting glove from his right hand while Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder stood patiently holding the ball that Hicks will treasure forever.
The strikeout has plagued Hicks during his minor league career, but after the Twins traded both Denard Span and Ben Revere in the off-season, the path was set for Hicks to take his place in center field.