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Hughes in mix as Twins map out rotation

Need for 5th starter delayed until Friday after postponed game
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- After Sunday's game against the Mariners was postponed due to inclement weather, the Twins won't need a fifth starter until Friday night's home matchup with the White Sox, and right-hander Phil Hughes remains in the mix for that role.

The Twins, who opened the year with a four-man rotation, were slated to need a fifth starter for the first time on Wednesday, but the postponed game changed their plans. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will now start on Wednesday against Houston with right-hander Jose Berrios scheduled to start the series opener against the White Sox on Thursday.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- After Sunday's game against the Mariners was postponed due to inclement weather, the Twins won't need a fifth starter until Friday night's home matchup with the White Sox, and right-hander Phil Hughes remains in the mix for that role.

The Twins, who opened the year with a four-man rotation, were slated to need a fifth starter for the first time on Wednesday, but the postponed game changed their plans. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will now start on Wednesday against Houston with right-hander Jose Berrios scheduled to start the series opener against the White Sox on Thursday.

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Hughes, who is on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and is coming off a second surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, started on Thursday with Class A Advanced Fort Myers. He allowed three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts.

"We're just trying to keep [Hughes] on track the best as we can to be someone who we consider for that day," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think he's probably going to throw another side [session] tomorrow or Wednesday. Just to make sure that he's staying as sharp as he can, given the fact that he hasn't faced Major League hitters in a while."

After Friday's start, the Twins won't need a fifth starter again until April 24, which could be a factor in the decision. Hughes could be activated from the DL to make the start and then move to long relief, or the Twins could decide to bring up a different pitcher for a spot start before sending him down after the game.

But one issue is that Triple-A Rochester didn't play over the weekend, as all three of its scheduled games were postponed.

"There is a plan B and C, at least," Molitor said. "We're monitoring the best that we can. Those guys haven't played since [April 1], which was the last game they played down there [in Florida]."

Sunday's postponed game also means that Berrios is no longer lined up to start the first game in his native Puerto Rico against the Indians on April 17. But he's still on track to start the second game, on April 18, and it remains a priority to line him up for a start on his home island.

Buxton receives hardware
• Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was presented with the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award before Monday's game for his efforts last season. He'll also be presented the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for center fielder and the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award for best overall defender on Friday. Buxton joked he might need a bigger trophy case, but he was humble in receiving the awards, crediting the coaches and his teammates for his breakout year defensively in 2017.

"That trophy means a lot," Buxton said. "For me, it's more of an outfield trophy just because they're out there communicating with me. It plays a big part with how good my corner outfielders are as well."

Video: HOU@MIN: Buxton receives his 2017 Wilson DPOY Award

Santana to meet with doctors Tuesday
• Twins right-hander Ervin Santana, who has had complications in his rehab from surgery on his right middle finger in early February, flew to Minneapolis on Monday night and will meet with team doctors on Tuesday. He's yet to make progress with his throwing program and is expected to find out more about his situation on Tuesday.

"I think he's probably starting to get a little bit anxious," Molitor said. "I haven't talked to him since we left, but I've heard that he wants to see what he can do to get approval to start trying to pick the pace up a little bit."

Twins tidbits
• The Twins took batting practice on the field for the first time in April on Monday night, as they've dealt with cold weather in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis.

• Former radio broadcaster Joe McConnell, 79, passed away on Sunday. He was the voice of the Twins from 1978-79 and the Vikings from 1971-76, among many broadcasting jobs over his career.

• Molitor said it's still too early to evaluate the performance of rookie relievers Gabriel Moya and Tyler Kinley this season. Moya remains a strong candidate to be optioned once the Twins need a fifth starter, while Kinley is a Rule 5 Draft pick and must stay on the roster all season or be offered back to the Marlins.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Phil Hughes