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.''