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Ron Gardenhire confirms Luke Hughes will replace injured Tsuyoshi Nishioka in Twins’ lineup

Apr 8, 2011, 12:50 PM EST

luke-hughes-twins-spring Getty Images

As expected, manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed this morning that the Twins will turn to Triple-A call-up Luke Hughes as their primary second baseman after Tsuyoshi Nishioka suffered a fractured fibula yesterday.

Hughes failed to crack the Opening Day roster because Gardenhire preferred Matt Tolbert as his utility man, but will now get the opportunity to play every day while Tolbert remains on the bench.

Hughes is old for a prospect at 26 and his defense draws mixed reviews, but he’s shown good power in the minors and should at the very least have some success against left-handed pitching.

I ranked Hughes as just the 33rd-best prospect in the Twins’ system coming into the season, but Minnesota’s infield depth is so limited following Nishioka’s injury that they don’t really have any other palatable options.

  1. fcmlefty1 - Apr 8, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Right or wrong, “Utility” player and “back up” player are not the same thing for Gardy.

  2. Jeremiah Graves - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    I’ll say it again. Was the JJ Hardy trade even remotely necessary?!

    Casilla makes so much more sense as a super-utility/injury-fill-in type anyway.

    Ugh…

    • fcmlefty1 - Apr 8, 2011 at 3:41 PM

      Would you have been ok with Pavano and/or Thome being in a different uniform this spring? Beacuse keeping them + Hardy’s salary wasn’t going to happen. Hardy is very overpaid for a “can’t stay healthy and I’m living off my reputation from 2007″ player.

  3. Kanonen80 - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Huuughes! He’s a fan favorite in Rochester and we’ll be sad to see him go. I’m happy that he’s finally getting a shot though. Assuming he’s batting lower in the order, I can see him being a decent piece. I can see him going .250/.310/.400, with 10 HR or so over a full season. He also seems to have some gap power, which will play well at home in Target Field (See Valencia, Danny)

    Poor Gardy is losing his speed though! I’m surprised he’s not playing Tolbert for his defense and base running. I suppose he’d rather have Tolbert’s flexibility on the bench, and we’ll probably see him come in late to spell Hughes at 2B or on the bases.

    That’s one thing that worries me about Nishi – will this break have lasting effects on his stealing and range in the field? I remember Iwamura being pretty wrecked after a similar collision at 2B, though a ligament tear is probably worse than a tibby break. But I’m no doctor.

    • Kanonen80 - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      And I mean fibula, not tibia. ‘No thank you’ to a broken tibia.

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