MINNEAPOLIS -- In a surprising move -- given that he's owed roughly $22.5 million through next season -- right-hander Phil Hughes was designated for assignment after the Twins' 4-2 win over the Tigers on Monday night.The Twins recalled outfielder Ryan LaMarre from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday in a corresponding move.Hughes,
MINNEAPOLIS -- In a surprising move -- given that he's owed roughly $22.5 million through next season -- right-hander Phil Hughes was designated for assignment after the Twins' 4-2 win over the Tigers on Monday night.
The Twins recalled outfielder Ryan LaMarre from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday in a corresponding move.
Hughes, who signed a five-year, $58 million extension after a breakout 2014 season with the Twins, struggled this season, getting moved to the bullpen following two subpar starts after beginning the year on the 10-day disabled list with an oblique strain. He posted a 6.75 ERA with eight strikeouts, five walks and four homers allowed in 12 innings. He had a 7.71 ERA in two starts and a 5.40 ERA in five relief appearances.
"I've been around Phil for a long time," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's worked really hard. He's been through a lot physically. He's had to endure a lot of rehabs. We probably saw him at his best his first year over here. It's been a tough road for him since then. I thanked him for the effort that he's given me and the times he's taken the ball, and I hope something happens in a positive fashion for him moving forward."
Hughes, 31, is now no longer on the 25-man roster or the 40-man roster and within seven days of the transaction, Hughes must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers. Hughes, though, won't be claimed on waivers, as no team is likely to be interested in picking up the rest of his salary with the Twins expected to have to eat the rest of his contract.
Molitor admitted it was a tough decision for ownership and the front office because of Hughes' contract situation, but he wasn't pitching well enough to keep his roster spot, with Molitor comparing it to keeping a Rule 5 reliever on the roster.
"It was time as far as we were concerned," Molitor said. "That's not my part of the game, but it's a guaranteed contract through the end of next year."
Hughes, who originally signed with the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract prior to '14, had a 3.52 ERA in 209 2/3 innings his first year in Minnesota, walking 16 batters in 32 starts to earn his extension. But it's been rough since then, as he's dealt with several injuries, including two surgeries to alleviate symptoms from thoracic outlet syndrome and knee surgery.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.