Hicks thankful Braves gave him a chance

Hicks thankful Braves gave him a chance

ATLANTA -- Brandon Hicks has been too busy trying to further his career to get mad at a former employer, in this case the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves thought highly of Hicks, who has become the Giants' primary second baseman. They selected him in the third round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, a Draft that also brought Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, right fielder Jason Heyward and closer Craig Kimbrel (in the 33rd round, if you can believe that). Atlanta also drafted a left-handed pitcher named Brandon Belt in the 11th round, but the future Giants first baseman didn't sign.

From all accounts, former Atlanta manager Bobby Cox respected Hicks' ability, particularly on defense at shortstop. But 2010, when Hicks made his Major League debut with the Braves, also happened to be the year they drafted Andrelton Simmons in the second round. Simmons supplanted Hicks and every other Braves prospect as the shortstop to watch.

But Hicks, facing his original team for the first time, insisted that he harbored no bad feelings toward the Braves.

"They gave me an opportunity over there," said Hicks, whose tenure in Atlanta's organization ended when the A's claimed him off waivers in March 2012. "They gave me my first shot in professional baseball, so I'm really thankful for that. I guess they just chose a different route. That happens in this business. You just have to roll with it."

Hicks, who scrambled off the heap of non-roster invitees to make San Francisco's Opening Day roster, has learned to take nothing for granted.

"When you're given that opportunity, you want to make the most of it," he said. "Because you don't know how many more you'll get."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.