Twins’ pitcher Phil Hughes will have season-ending surgery

By Michael Dixon

The Minnesota Twins will be without a veteran pitcher for the rest of the 2016 season. Right-hander Phil Hughes last pitched on June 9 and will not appear for Minnesota again this season.

While there is never a good time for an injury, this is pretty close to ideal. The Twins are well out of any playoff race. Minnesota will probably lose 100-plus games and be one of baseball’s worst two or three teams at the end of the season. Hughes can safely miss the rest of 2016 and not cost the Twins any meaningful games.

This will also give Minnesota a chance to view some of the organization’s younger pitchers, giving them a tryout in a semi-important setting. While the remaining games are nothing more than glorified Spring Training for the Twins, many of Minnesota’s opponents will be taking them seriously.

As such, those young pitchers will see Major League caliber starters for full games and will be pitching in potentially full, Major League stadiums.

How much of an impact the injury has had on Hughes’ awful 2016 season remains to be seen. Even the normally solid walk rate of two hitters per nine innings is bad for Hughes. Over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, he was at 0.8 per nine innings.

In total, Hughes has amassed only 34 strikeouts in 59 innings, accruing an ERA of 5.95 and WHIP of 1.51.