Phil Hughes said he was healthy after being rocked by the Indians on Sunday, but that didn’t last long. By Tuesday, his back was sore enough to prevent him from throwing in the bullpen. He’ll have a pain-killing shot in his back to treat it, but he’ll be placed on the disabled list while he recovers.
With Hughes out of action at least until Aug. 25, the Twins finally sorted out their pitching schedule, and decided who will face the Indians this weekend: None of the usual guys.
Trevor May, shifted to the bullpen six weeks ago, will return to the starting rotation on Friday, albeit for no more than 50 pitches, and probably will start a game on next week’s road trip, too. On Saturday, Tyler Duffey will return to the majors and be given a chance to improve upon his two-inning debut in Toronto. And Sunday, Tommy Milone, who threw in the bullpen this morning with no problems, will be activated from the disabled list and will start the finale of the six-game homestand.
Hughes said he had nothing but normal aches after his three-inning start at Cleveland, but reported stiffness in his lower back a day later. He tried to throw his regular between-starts bullpen session on Tuesday, but threw only a few pitches. The Twins sent the right-hander for a magnetic resonance imaging test, which found severe inflammation, enough so that Hughes was given a pain-killing shot on Thursday.
It’s the same problem Hughes had occasionally while with the Yankees, and the Twins believe it’s not serious.
May has become a reliable set-up man in the bullpen, and he hasn’t allowed a run in his last eight appearances. May’s ERA is 4.37 this season as a starter and 2.51 as a reliever, but the 25-year-old said, while he didn’t seek the switch back, he welcomes the chance to start again.
May will be limited to 50 pitches on Friday, and perhaps a few more next week when he starts again in Baltimore.
The Twins’ rotation for their three games in New York next week will be Kyle Gibson, Mike Pelfrey and Ervin Santana.
As for today’s game, Miguel Sano follows up his six-RBI game with a chance to play the infield again. Joe Mauer will serve as the designated hitter, moving Trevor Plouffe to first base and Sano to third.
Here are the lineups as the Twins try to finish off a sweep of the Rangers: