Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Phil Hughes, reliever


Hughes has been a reliever before -- he spent much of 2009 as a set-up man to Mariano Rivera as the Yankees won the World Series -- but he hasn't made more than a couple of relief apperances in any season since.

The idea is that shorter stints will avoid the tingling sensation in his fingers, an echo of the symptoms that led to last year's thoratic outlet syndrome surgery.

Hughes as a reliever isn't what Terry Ryan (or Hughes) had in mind when Hughes signed his contract extension after his outstanding 2014 season, but if he has the usual uptick in velocity in the bullpen role, Hughes as a reliever might solve one of the pitching staff's issues. A reliable right-handed short man would ease Paul Molitor's burden.

He (and the also rehabbing Hector Santiago) are to pitch today for Rochester. Per Berardino, the idea is that this weekend Hughes will try pitching in back-to-back games. Back-to-back outings in rehab assignments are typically a trigger to bring the pitcher off the disabled list, so it's possible that Hughes will be back next week. Santiago was reportedly reluctant to go on a rehab assignment at all, preferring to simply return to the rotation, so it's possible Santiago will be back next week. Getting both back on the mound can't hurt.

Meanwhile, the Twins have signed Dillon Gee to a minor league deal. Gee has had some success in a major league rotation, but not lately; the Rangers cut him loose earlier this year after he gave up four homers in 13 innings. I'm not counting on much, but he may be an upgrade on Adam Wilk.

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