Thursday, April 19, 2012

Waiving Luke Hughes

Luke Hughes lost
his roster spot in
part because
Francisco Liriano
can't throw strikes.
The Twins had to make a roster move Wednesday to make room for Jason Marquis, that night's starting pitcher.

That move probably would have involved another pitcher, but ...

  • Francisco Liriano's awful start on Tuesday strained the bullpen;
  • Glen Perkins and Nick Blackburn are injured enough to be out of action but not enough, in the eyes of management, to justify putting either on the disabled list.

So the ax fell on a position player, and the selected target was Luke Hughes, who was designated for assignment. The Twins have 10 days in which to dispose of his contract -- trade him to another team, release him, outright him to Rochester.

Hughes is a marginal talent, a tweener -- he hits well enough to play second base, but isn't good enough defensively; he fields well enough for a corner infield spot, but doesn't provide enough offense.

What is most striking about cutting him (to go with 13 pitchers) is that he was the closest thing to a competent middle infielder on the bench. With the current 25-man roster, Trevor Plouffe figures to be the backup at both shortstop and second base, and that simply does not work.

I have to figure that this is temporary. At some point soon the Twins will return to a 12-man pitching staff, and a middle infielder who isn't a defensive embarrassment will join the roster.

Brian Dozier? I'm inclined to doubt that the decision makers will pull the plug on the Jamie Carroll-Alexi Casilla duo before April ends -- the Twins generally let Plan A ride until mid-May before calling it a failure -- and Dozier isn't likely to be called up to sit.

On the other hand, maybe the decision makers are getting tired of double plays not turned.

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