Tyler Mason of FOX Sports North reports that the Twins will place outfielder Josh Willingham on the disabled list on Saturday. In a related move, they will call up reliever Michael Tonkin.
Willingham was hit in the left wrist with a Justin Masterson fastball on Sunday. X-rays came back negative and the Twins were initially hopeful that Willingham wouldn’t need to go on the disabled list. They’ll place him on the disabled list retroactively, so he could return to the lineup in a week if everything else goes according to plan.
Through his first 23 plate appearances to start the season, Willingham is hitting .294 with a .435 on-base percentage, though he hasn’t shown any power yet. The Twins will have to keep a watchful eye on Willingham in case the wrist problem hampers his power after he returns to the lineup.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.