Twins welcome back Jason Marquis, designate Luke Hughes for assignment

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Jason Marquis was away from the Twins during spring training because his daughter got into a serious bicycling accident, but after building up his arm strength at Double-A he’s ready to join the rotation tonight.

He faces the Yankees in New York, so welcome back and … good luck.

Rather than dropping a pitcher to make room for Marquis on the roster the Twins kept a 13-man pitching staff and instead designated infielder Luke Hughes for assignment. That move is somewhat surprising, but Hughes is a poor defensive second baseman/third baseman who doesn’t really hit enough to be an everyday option at first base or an outfield corner.

There’s a decent chance another team claims him off waivers, but at age 27 and with little success in the majors or at Triple-A the Twins are unlikely to regret losing Hughes.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.