Jordan Hicks: Bud Norris 'Has the Best Intentions for Me' in Harsh Treatment

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2018

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jordan Hicks throws in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

St. Louis Cardinals rookie reliever Jordan Hicks shot down the notion Thursday that veteran Bud Norris is too hard on him.

In an interview with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hicks said the following about his teammate:

"He has the best intentions for me. I think he's nudging me in the right direction. That's the best way to put it. ... It's a collective group doing it. You have to learn 10 times faster in the big leagues. You have to adjust 10 times faster. You have to be mentally stronger than you have ever been before. You have to make all of that happen faster. I have no problem with anybody getting on me. I get that. I have to listen.

"Bud is not bad at all. He's getting on me because he wants me to be a better player, and I know it's to make me a better teammate. That can happen."

Hicks' comments came on the heels of an article by The Athletic's Mark Saxon in which Saxon wrote that Norris "mercilessly rides" Hicks.

As an example of the sometimes prickly relationship between Hicks and Norris, Goold wrote about an exchange they had before a recent home game.

Hicks turned the clubhouse music up a couple of times after Norris had turned it down, which led to Norris shutting it off completely and suggesting that Hicks put on some headphones.

Hicks told Goold that he didn't take offense to it: "It's pretty much like the music thing—I'm trying to keep track and not get confused. I'm a rookie. I need guys guiding me. [Norris] actually does care about me. I know that. There are times, though, when he or anyone basically says, 'You should know better.'"

The 21-year-old Hicks has become a key part of the Cards bullpen this season despite having never pitched above A-ball previously.

In 42 appearances he has a 3-1 record with a 2.70 ERA.

Norris, 33, is the Cardinals closer, converting 17 of 19 save opportunities with a 3-2 record and 2.87 ERA.

He is in the midst of his 10th MLB season and has essentially seen and done it all. In addition to having both started and relieved, Norris has played for seven different teams.

Hicks is a highly touted prospect with a fastball that can exceed 100 mph, which figures to make him a key part of the Cardinals' future.

He needs to fully learn how to be a big leaguer in the meantime, and his comments suggest he believes Norris is helping him in that regard.

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