Twins cut Hughes to make room for Marquis
By MIKE FITZPATRICK
NEW YORK (AP) The Minnesota Twins cut infielder Luke Hughes to open a roster spot for pitcher Jason Marquis, who was recalled from Double-A New Britain to start Wednesday night against the New York Yankees.
Marquis, who grew up in New York rooting for the Yankees and still lives in the city, made his first appearance with his new team. He signed a $3 million, one-year contract with the Twins in the offseason but left spring training after four starts when his 7-year-old daughter, Reese, was seriously injured in a bicycle accident.
Marquis' family, including Reese, was expected to attend the game. Her injuries included a lacerated kidney and doctors initially were worried about whether she would survive. But she has recovered nicely and was at the ballpark Tuesday with her dad.
"She's good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was kind of neat to see her around and running around, which is good."
Minnesota is the seventh major league team for Marquis - but first in the American League. He left about 30 tickets for family and friends for his first career start at Yankee Stadium.
Needing to build up arm strength and stamina, the 33-year-old right-hander began the season at New Britain. He went 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts, striking out 11 and walking none in 14 innings.
"He missed 12 or 13 days without really doing anything with us. He did work at home, but that's not the same as getting down there in the heat in spring training," Gardenhire said. "We wanted to make sure we protect him. I don't want him to hurt himself, so we gave him every opportunity to get ready for this and he's ready."
Hughes, who is from Australia, appeared in four games for the Twins this season. He was 2 for 10 at the plate with two RBIs and a stolen base.
The team has 10 days to trade, release or send him outright to the minors. If the Twins want to keep Hughes they must expose him to waivers first, so they could lose him to another club.
Gardenhire said it was a difficult decision to cut Hughes, but the team couldn't afford to demote a pitcher right now. Fellow reserve Trevor Plouffe had an advantage over Hughes because Plouffe can play both the outfield and infield.
"Tough situation. We had to go one way or another and we decided to go this way and see what happens," Gardenhire said.
Blackburn left his most recent start with a stiff shoulder, but an MRI showed no damage. He played catch Wednesday and said he felt good. He is scheduled to start Tuesday night against Boston.
Perkins (nerve irritation) was cleared by team doctors to throw a bullpen session in Minneapolis and the reliever was headed to New York on Wednesday night to rejoin the team.
Updated April 18, 2012