Righthander Phil Hughes will be activated from the disabled list in time to start Sunday against Tampa Bay. It will be Hughes’ first start since May 21 of last season.
Hughes currently is on a minor league rehabilitation assignment at Class A Fort Myers, where he was 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA for the Miracle. In his most recent start Saturday, Hughes threw five shutout innings on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts against Tampa. He threw 61 pitches in the game, then threw in the bullpen Friday in order to be sharp for Sunday.
Hughes, 31, has had each of the past two seasons shortened by surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome. He felt more confident in spring training this year that his health problems have been solved, and he has hit 93 miles per hour a few times with his fastball during spring training games and during his minor league rehab stint.
With Hughes starting Sunday, the Twins can start Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios, Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson in the four-game series in New York against the Yankees.
The Twins are moving closer to having all their starting pitching options available. Righthander Ervin Santana is working his way back from surgery on his middle finger and could be ready in less than a month.
On Sunday, the Rays will bypass their usual starters and employ a bullpen game, picking from their most-rested relievers to get them through the early innings.
la velle e. neal iii