Wetmore: The Morales trade, Hughes' bruise, few Twins base runners
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The Twins didn't put up much of a fight for most of the night against White Sox starter Hector Noesi. Minnesota managed just two base runners until the eighth inning, and Chicago won, 5-2.
This column presents 5 thoughts from Thursday's game.
As always, feel free to ask questions or make observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. The Twins traded Kendrys Morales to the Seattle Mariners before the game, in exchange for minor league reliever Stephen Pryor. The Twins had signed Morales in early June for a prorated $12 million contract after the draft compensation tied to his signing vanished with the onset of the first-year player draft. He was set to earn roughly $7.5 million from the Twins, and now the Mariners, who seemed to be in need of a bat, will be responsible for the balance of that salary.
Basically, the Twins paid a little more $3 million for 39 games of Morales and the right to trade him for a reliever who is on the cusp of the Major Leagues.
The Morales signing surprised me at the time but it would have taken a lot of good breaks for the Twins to contend for a Wild Card spot in the American League. Instead, they've had several bad breaks and have spiraled out of contention. The Morales trade, then, is probably the first of several moves designed to improve future Twins lineups.
For more on the trade, including a look at what the Twins are getting in Pryor, here's my analysis.
2. Kyle Gibson's scheduled start Saturday is in question, as the right-hander is still dealing with a stiff lower back, according to reports.
Gibson on Wednesday said the soreness in his back was getting better each day and that he was hopeful to make the start. That was the Twins' hope, too, and if he's not able to pitch it's likely they'll need to call up a pitcher to make the start. Long reliever Anthony Swarzak started Wednesday's game and long reliever Sam Deduno pitched four innings (62 pitches) Thursday.
3. Phil Hughes left Thursday's game after taking a line drive off his right shin in the fourth inning. Sam Deduno entered in long relief and pitched four innings and allowed three runs.
Hughes has a shin bruise from where Adam Dunn's line drive struck the pitcher, according to the Twins.
4. Noesi had a no-hit bid thwarted with two outs in the fourth inning, when Trevor Plouffe's soft fly ball fell in front of converging outfielders. Chris Parmelee walked in the fifth inning with two outs. Those were the only two base runners until Parmelee reached again on a line drive in the eighth inning. Danny Santana homered to right field to end Noesi's night, but the right-hander finished with 7 2/3 innings and just three hits allowed.
5. Ryan Pressly made his 2014 Twins debut Thursday with two scoreless innings. He got four ground ball outs and a strikeout and allowed just one hit and walked a batter across the 8th and 9th innings.
Additional note: With the available roster spot cleared when Morales was traded, the Twins recalled 21-year-old infielder Jorge Polanco, who had been promoted to Double-A New Britain earlier in the day.