Rookie reliever Jordan Hicks addressed reports of potential conflict within the St. Louis Cardinals' locker room, saying teammate and closer Bud Norris has his best interests in mind.
"He has the best intentions for me," Hicks told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday. "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."
Hicks was responding to a Wednesday report in The Athletic about Norris' role with the Cardinals since joining the team on a one-year contract in the offseason. The Athletic detailed Norris as challenging Hicks since his arrival, including publicly calling him out.
But Hicks, who had declined comment to The Athletic, said he understands what Norris is trying to accomplish.
"Bud is not bad at all," Hicks told the Post-Dispatch. "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."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told The Athletic that Norris was showing Hicks that he cares about his success. John Mozeliak, the team's president of baseball operations, told the Post-Dispatch that he spoke with Norris and Hicks following The Athletic story.
"There is a hierarchy in any clubhouse, but we don't want there to be any time where a young player feels he is not welcome or that he cannot be himself. That cannot happen," Mozeliak said. "There are expectations. There are rules. ... Jordan is learning and growing, and it's all at this level."