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La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Postgame: Thoughts on Hughes, Hicks and Unfiltered Torii


Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 3-2 loss to the White Sox:

PRESERVING HUGHES: This is going to look strange, but the reason Phil Hughes was removed after seven innings was about preservation as much as it was game strategy. Here's Hughes on the quality of his stuff. ``I really felt like my stuff was mediocre,'' he said.  ``I didn't have a swing and miss pitch. With (Adam) LaRoche coming up, a guy who's had some real good swings against me in the past, the guy I pitched around a little bit. (Aaron) Thompson having done such a good job, I felt like that was the move.'' So after 89 pitches, Hughes was out of the game. ``Sometimes the extra rest doesn't always mean you will be extended the next time,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ``Might even work conversely.'' With two off days this week, Hughes had extra rest but didn't see it in his pitches. So the hope is that backing off a few pitches Friday will help. ``It's not my velocity,'' Hughes said. ``It;s the little extra giddyup at the end.''

ANOTHER GREAT CATCH BY HICKS: This is why Aaron Hicks needed to get back up here - and why the Twins should accept whatever offense he provides. Twins righthander Phil Hughes, shooting for his fourth straight win, got a boost in the second inning. With runners in first and third and two outs, Carlos Sanchez sent a sinking liner to left-center that Aaron Hicks needed a highlight-reel worthy diving catch to keep at least one run from scoring. ``It was tremendous,'' Molitor said. ``Shaded the other way, getting a good jump on the ball, closing the gap, extending. All you could ask for in terms of a play a center fielder can make to keep a zero on the board.''

TORII, ON THE SHARK: Here's Torii Hunter talking about White Sox righthander Jeff Samardzija: ``I took a pitch and was like. `Oh God.' It was moving all over the place. He was very nasty. The sinker was moving like crazy. The cutter was moving like crazy. Explosive fastball, slider change up and splitty. I mean he gave us every pitch with max effort.....```He bulldogged today. And he's those guys you say, `He drives a Mercedes too.'' You tip your cap and move on.''....``The last inning, he was throwing 95, 96. What the heck. That's a football player from Notre Dame.''

Confident Twins ready to take on White Sox


The Twins clubhouse on Friday was pretty lively. The daily card game was going on, Torii Hunter was holding court, at one point getting Corey Koskie on his speakerphone to verify some story. Someone is always picking on Eduardo Escobar. Today it was first base coach Butch Davis, then Brian Dozier.

Eddie Guardado and Rudy Hernandez were mingling with the players too, Twins manager Paul Molitor walked around as if he was checking the pulse of his 23-17 team, then went back in his office.

Six games over .500, and they are feeling pretty good for themselves.

``We have our work cut out for us this weekend,'' Molitor would later say.

Chicago has flaws, but good pitching covers up flaws. And the Twins catch Jeff Samardzija, Chris Sale and Carlos Quintana this weekend. But the Twins are feeling good about themselves and figure anything can happen.

Phil Hughes is on the mound for the Twins tonight, looking for his fourth straight win. Hughes is a strike thrower and loves his cut fastball, but Molitor thinks he's coming around on using his curveball more.

``He's learning that the curveball is an important part of his mix,'' Molitor said. ``He likes to save it for the second or third time (through the batting order), but I think he's learning it can be effective from the start.''

UPDATES

The Twins now have 13 pitchers, but Molitor said he wants to go back to 12 as soon as possible.

Alex Meyer has been dropped from the rotation at Class AAA Rochester after a run of shaky outings. Assistant GM Rob Antony said Meyer was kind of relieved at the news because he's been frustrated and, ``he feels like he's letting us down.''

Casey Fien is at Rochester. He will throw one inning tomorrow, take two days off, then throw back-to-back games,. Then the Twins will make a decision.

Oswaldo Arcia should be heading out on a rehab assignment soon. Antony made it clear that the days of getting rehab at-bats to make sure one is healthy are over. Arcia will be summoned when they think he can help the team. That means Eddie Rosario is safe for now.

The White Sox have announced a lineup change. Avisail Garcia has been scratched with right knee inflammation and will be replaced by J.B. Shuck. Garcia is 12-for-24 against the Twins this season.

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Joe Mauer, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Eduardo Escobar, DH
Eddie Rosario, LF
Aaron Hicks, CF
Danny Santana, SS

Phil Hughes, RHP

White Sox

Adam Eaton, CF
Melky Cabrera, LF
Jose Abreu, 1B
Dave LaRoche, DH
Avisail Garcia, RF
Conor Gillaspie, 3B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Carlos Sanchez, 2B

Jeff Samardzija, RHP

3:10 PM (FSN)
Minnesota 23-18
Chicago White Sox 19-20

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