Twins expected to make a run at Phil Hughes

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The Twins have reportedly agreed to a four-year, $49 million contract with Ricky Nolasco, but they aren’t done attempting to upgrade their starting rotation.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Twins are now likely to turn their attention to free agent right-hander Phil Hughes. George A. King III of the New York Post hears that Hughes is looking for a two-year contract, with the Twins, Angels, Mariners, and Royals among the potential landing spots. The Mets have been mentioned as a possibility, but they aren’t comfortable going beyond one year.

Hughes, 27, is coming off a rough year in which he posted a 5.19 ERA and 121/42 K/BB ratio over 145 2/3 innings. He has been really hurt by the home run ball at Yankee Stadium, so a move to a more pitcher-friendly environment could prove beneficial. Or that’s the hope, anyway.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.