Tweaks to lineup test the Twins' versatility

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Luke Hughes

Photo: Paul Sancya, Associated Press - Ap

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FORT MYERS, FLA. — The Twins on Saturday continued to assess their flexibility, getting a look at Chris Parmelee in right field, Luke Hughes at shortstop and Ben Revere also in right for a few innings during the Twins' 19-4 romp over Tampa Bay.

If those players make the team, they will need to be versatile. It was the first time Hughes and Revere have been used at those positions. Parmelee made his first start in right.

Parmelee has been one of the surprises in camp. He's batting .316 and hit his third homer of the spring Saturday. He was a September callup last year after spending most of last year at Class AA New Britain. He's never played at Class AAA Rochester, but the Twins appear to be open to taking him north.

"Well, he's played outfield most of his minor league career, so if he's going to make this club, that gives him another avenue to certainly contribute," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said, "and as you guys are aware, we've got all kinds of guys we're waiting to see [in the outfield]."

While Hughes' best shot to make the team is as a reserve, where Revere's appearance in right could be a tip-off that his best shot to make the roster is as a fourth outfielder.

"I'm waiting to see Hughes play the outfield, and I'm waiting to see [Pedro] Florimon play the outfield,'' Ryan said. "We've got all kinds of guys we have to check, to see if they have the versatility to make this club.''

Hughes' bat is helping his cause. He went 5-for-5 with a home run and five RBI on Saturday. He's batting .481 over his nine games with three homers and 11 RBI.

Hughes played 33 games at short while coming up through the minors and is ready whenever needed.

"I feel comfortable over there,'' he said.

He certainly looks comfortable at the plate.

Minor leaguer suspended

Righthander Aaron Thompson, a nonroster invite to spring training before being cut from camp, has received a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy.

Ryan said the suspension was for using a drug of abuse and not a performance-enhancing drug.

Ryan said the club had no immediate plans to dump Thompson: "We're going to keep him,'' he said. "He's just suspended without pay. When you got 160 kids -- and this guy is not a kid -- there is no excuse."

Thompson, 25, gave up one run over two appearances in spring training games. He spent last year in the Pirates organization.

Gray gets start

Righthander Jeff Gray started Saturday's game as a late replacement for Jason Marquis, who had to return to him home in Staten Island, N.Y., to attend to a family issue.

Marquis scheduled a bullpen session near his home Saturday so he doesn't fall behind, but he still needs to be with his family.

"It will be a few more days before he can free himself up, which is the right thing,'' Ryan said.

On deck

Nick Blackburn, who has thrown seven scoreless innings in official spring games, will face Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.

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