Minnesota Twins: Phil Hughes in His New Role

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Apr 24, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Phil Hughes (45) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Phil Hughes (45) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Minnesota Twins are getting creative how they’ll bring back Phil Hughes to the rotation in a much different responsibility than expected.

It’s been a rocky 2017 season for Phil Hughes, but the Minnesota Twins have no time to waste acclimating him to the league’s shakiest bullpen. Hughes will be working out of the pen during his Triple-A assignment with Rochester.  Immediately after his rehab stint, he’ll be up to the majors to hopefully provide some depth and help.

He hasn’t been a reliever since his Yankee days and ultimately won a World Series ring in that role. Manager Paul Molitor mentioned earlier that Phil would be effective in short stints. This is essential for relief pitchers who thrive in these situations. Coming off the DL, it’s smart to give him a short template to get back to form.

As a starter, Hughes struggles to get past five innings often. His velocity has been very underwhelming and he leaves pitches up. Relievers take an inning or two while not having to conserve arm strength the way starters do to go deeper in games.

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It’s likely Hughes will find some extra velocity to his fastball while only having to work an inning at a time. This could help him turn his season around.

Internal solution for a depleted bullpen

Although the Twins bullpen is heavily criticized, bringing in a veteran arm with a lot of experience from a winning Yankee club will help a lot. A combined 5.30 bullpen ERA  won’t do the Twins any favors competing with Cleveland down the stretch. If Minnesota feels a trade isn’t necessary, an internal solution like this will absolutely help.

Next: Brian Dozier Should Be Traded If Twins Start To Slip

Twins minor league affiliates will provide some hurlers who’re expected to contribute out of the bullpen. Mason Melotakis, Stephen Gonsalves, and Fernando Romero are three prospects that prosper in late inning duty. It’s likely that a trade will be used to strengthen the pitching staff as a whole. Support is coming whether it comes from within the organization or not.

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