This, shockingly enough, is not a prank. With the El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres affiliate) getting blown out by the Las Vegas 51’s (Mets affiliate), outfielder Jeff Francoeur took the mound for some mop-up duty. Francoeur had never pitched in his professional career dating back to 2002.
Francoeur retired Allan Dykstra on a fly ball to center, and Zach Lutz and Juan Centeno on ground outs to second base for a 1-2-3 inning. Not bad.
On the offensive side of things, Francoeur went 1-for-4 with a single against the 51’s. He entered the afternoon slashing .207/.217/.362 in 60 trips to the plate at Triple-A.
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.