FORT MYERS. FLA. – After a laborious first inning, Phil Hughes asked about the decision to pitch a second inning Saturday.
“I had to drive all this way,” Hughes said, “So I might as well go out for a second inning.”
The Twins’ Hammond Stadium is about 5 miles from Boston’s JetBlue Park, so Hughes didn’t have to go far. But he has a ways to go before he stirs memories of last season, when he went 16-10 and walked only 16 batters.
Nope, Saturday’s outing was far from that as he fought command and sharpness and pretty much got a workout in as the Twins lost 4-2 to the Red Sox. The Twins were hitless for 6⅓ innings before Kennys Vargas legged out an infield hit when third baseman Sean Coyle couldn’t pull off the barehanded stab.
Damage control was a running theme as Boston collected 16 hits. “Considering we gave up 16 hits, we pitched pretty good,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Hughes gave up a single, threw a wild pitch then another single to open the first inning. But he regrouped to retire David Ortiz on a pop out, strike out Hanley Ramirez looking then get Pablo Sandoval to fly out to escape damage.
“A lot of dynamics out there today,” Hughes said. “Immediate jam, first and third with nobody out in the first. Sometimes you want a nice easy outing and get your legs under you but there is something to be said about being able to work out of a jam and some high stress situations to get 2015 off to a good start.
“It wasn’t exactly how I would like it to go, but it’s all a process.”
La VELLE E. NEAL III