FORT MYERS, FLA. – A year ago, Phil Hughes missed most of spring training because of disk problem in his back. He felt like he never had a good base under him once he started pitching for the Yankees.
He feels the exact opposite with the Twins after making his final start of camp Friday in a 4-0 loss to the Red Sox. Hughes gave up the four runs over 5⅓ innings and knows he needed to make a better pitch here and there to extract himself from certain situations.
But there’s often a feeling of accomplishment when a pitcher completes spring training, and that’s where Hughes was at Friday.
“To be able to go through the regular process of building arm strength and innings, pitches, games, the whole deal was my main goal this spring, and I accomplished that,” Hughes said, “and I feel like I’m kind of ahead of the game and ready to go.”
Hughes gave up two runs in the fourth inning, including a two-out RBI single by Xander Bogaerts. Boston scored two more in the sixth, including a wind-aided solo home run by Mike Napoli.
No word on Diamond
There’s a spot in Class AAA Rochester’s rotation if Scott Diamond wants it. But the lefthander has not informed the Twins yet whether he will accept his assignment or opt to become a free agent.
Diamond cleared waivers Thursday and was sent outright to Rochester after failing in his bid to win a spot on the Twins staff. He has until Saturday afternoon to make a decision.
“We had a conversation [Thursday], and I told him we would like to have him back,” Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said. “But he has the right to look around and see if there is a better opportunity or better situation. If he comes back he will go into the rotation at Rochester. Told him he would have to go down and be prepared when we need a guy [that] he’s the best guy.”
Miguel Sano, out for the season because of Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, is home in the Dominican Republic to spend time with his family. The third baseman, with his right arm in a brace, is riding a bike to try to stay in shape and will return to Fort Myers next week to continue his rehab.
He will miss the season but could play in the Arizona Fall League before joining his winter ball team.
• Byron Buxton will rest his sore left wrist for about 10 days before he attempts to do any baseball activities. The Twins hope the outfielder can return to action by mid- to late-April.
• Longtime groundskeeping guru George Toma, who has worked on the Hammond Stadium fields for 13 years, threw out the first pitch before Friday’s game, the last of spring training at Hammond Stadium.
The Twins will play their final 2014 Grapefruit League game when they face the Red Sox at JetBlue Park. Mike Pelfrey will start against Jake Peavy. The Twins will hop a plane for Chicago after the game to open the regular season against the White Sox.