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Hughes sharp vs. Yankees in wake of Lynn deal

Facing uncertain role, veteran righty solid over 4 innings
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

TAMPA, Fla. -- Before his start against the Yankees on Monday night, Twins right-hander Phil Hughes met with manager Paul Molitor about his status after the club signed Lance Lynn to a one-year deal just weeks after trading for Jake Odorizzi to further bolster the rotation.

Hughes, who is coming off surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, was competing with Anibal Sanchez for the final spot in the rotation until Lynn was signed and Sanchez was released over the weekend. Molitor told Hughes not to worry about the roster, as his focus needs to remain on proving he can be effective after several injury-plagued seasons. Hughes took the message to heart and pitched well in a 2-1 win over New York.

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Before his start against the Yankees on Monday night, Twins right-hander Phil Hughes met with manager Paul Molitor about his status after the club signed Lance Lynn to a one-year deal just weeks after trading for Jake Odorizzi to further bolster the rotation.

Hughes, who is coming off surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, was competing with Anibal Sanchez for the final spot in the rotation until Lynn was signed and Sanchez was released over the weekend. Molitor told Hughes not to worry about the roster, as his focus needs to remain on proving he can be effective after several injury-plagued seasons. Hughes took the message to heart and pitched well in a 2-1 win over New York.

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"He just reiterated my thoughts, that that kind of stuff doesn't matter," Hughes said of his meeting with Molitor. "Just go out and worry about what I can control, which is just throwing pitches on the mound. Obviously, it's a good thing for us. Our team is better with these moves we've made. It makes my status a little cloudier, but I can't let it affect me and be in my head when I pitch in games like this because I need to be productive and get results."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Hughes, coming off a live mound session Friday of two innings to fine-tune his off-speed pitches, allowed four hits, including a solo homer, over four innings with three strikeouts. He started nine of the 15 batters he faced with an off-speed pitch.

"A lot of those things I worked on during that sim game was sequence stuff, really, and I brought it into the game today and had some pretty good results," Hughes said. "Overall, I was pretty happy, and the command was pretty good. Fortunately, I was able to throw a lot of strikes."

Video: MIN@NYY: Hughes strikes out Gardner in the 1st

Molitor softened his stance on opening with a four-man rotation on Monday, a day after he said he'd stick with that configuration because of off-days. But with Lynn on track to make just three Grapefruit League starts, the Twins could hold him back for one more outing on the Minor League side once the club departs for the regular season and go with Hughes as a starter early in the season.

"He knows what's going on," Molitor said. "It doesn't change what he's trying to do in terms of coming back from not pitching much last year and trying to earn innings at this level. He knows still has an opportunity with how we decide to proceed."

Twins Spring Training info

Camp battles
Non-roster catcher Bobby Wilson hit a two-run homer to right off Masahiro Tanaka in the second inning Monday. Mitch Garver remains the expected backup catcher, but Garver is 1-for-16 with a homer this spring.

Video: MIN@NYY: Wilson belts a two-run homer to right

Robbie Grossman, who is competing with Zack Granite to be the fourth outfielder, has been heating up offensively after opening 0-for-17, and went 2-for-3 with a double in the second and a single in the fourth off Tanaka.

Rule 5 right-hander Tyler Kinley, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen, threw a scoreless inning, working around two walks in the eighth. He has a 3.00 ERA this spring with his fastball reaching as high as 99 mph to go along with a 92-mph slider.

• Lefty Gabriel Moya, who is also competing for a bullpen role, continued his solid spring with a scoreless ninth to lower his ERA to 1.50.

Video: MIN@NYY: Corcino's diving grab secures the win in 9th

• Left-hander Adalberto Mejia, who is likely headed to Triple-A after the signing of Lynn, threw two scoreless innings to lower his spring ERA to 4.50.

Injury updates
• Left fielder Eddie Rosario has yet to start a throwing program after dealing with right arm tendinitis. Molitor said the injury has healed slower than he expected. Rosario is expected to be ready to start the season and will return to action as a DH in spring before he sees the field.

• First baseman/designated hitter Logan Morrison said he's healthy after straining his right glute while running the bases on Wednesday and will return to the lineup against the Orioles on Thursday.

• Infielder Ehire Adrianza has been out since Tuesday with a left calf strain but will play as a backup on Wednesday, Molitor said.

Up next
• Lynn will be introduced with a news conference on Tuesday morning and then will make his Twins debut against the Orioles at 12:05 p.m. CT at Hammond Stadium (listen live). Odorizzi was scheduled to start but now will throw a bullpen session Thursday and start on Sunday. Other pitchers scheduled to see action include Addison Reed and Zach Duke.

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

Minnesota Twins, Phil Hughes