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The Strike Zone

Happy birthday, Oswaldo Arcia!

(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 22-year-old Oswaldo Arcia now has hits in 11 of his last 12 games. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Oswaldo Arcia wasn't supposed to be in the majors this year. He split 2012 between the Twins' High-A and Double-A outposts, hitting .320/.388/.539 with 17 homers, and came into the season ranked number 41 on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list, with an ETA of 2014. But when the Twins found themselves shorthanded in the outfield last month, they brought him up, and after a slow start, he has collected hits in 11 of his last 12 games.

Four of those hits came in Wednesday night's 15-8 rout of the Red Sox, lifting his line to .300/.344/.467. He continued to tear it up on Thursday, which just happened to be his 22nd birthday. In the fifth inning, he tripled off Sox starter John Lackey, and came around to score the Twins' first run, cutting a 2-0 lead in half. Aided by a Lackey throwing error, the Twins had already plated two runs in the sixth to take the lead when Arcia collected his birthday present in the form of an 89 MPH fastball that caught too much of the plate. He deposited the gift in the Red Sox bullpen, lifting the score to 5-2:

[mlbvideo id="26980071" width="400" height="224" /]

"Arcia with a high drive to deep right field! Happy birthday!" shouts Twins' play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer.

"The landlord can probably put Oswaldo Arcia's apartment in Rochester back on Craigslist," quipped Hardball Talk and Twins blogger Aaron Gleeman via Twitter.

That homer, Arcia's fourth of the year, gave him the lead among Twins outfielders and tied him with Trevor Plouffe for second on the team, a team that came into the day second-to-last in the league with 24 homers, but still sitting with a pleasantly surprising 15-15 record. The scouting report on Arcia from Baseball Prospectus (which ranked him 60th on their Top 101 Prospects list) is that he has plus power and hitting ability, with a good enough arm to stick in right field.

With right fielder Chris Parmalee (.200/.288/.322) and DH Ryan Doumit (.244/.313/.400) both off to slow starts, Arcia could continue carving himself a share of playing time while deflecting attention away from the struggles of fellow rookie Aaron Hicks. The Twins' young center fielder, who's still trying to dig his way out of a 2-for-48 start to his big league carer, came into Thursday hitting an unfathomable .128/.239/.202.

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