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Gibson scuffles, but happy for healthy spring

Molitor cautiously optimistic that Hughes could be back soon
Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson made his fourth and final Spring Training start Sunday afternoon as the Twins lost to the Red Sox, 6-1. Gibson went 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, including a home run, one walk and two strikeouts.

Gibson wrapped up the spring with a 3.55 ERA, allowing five earned runs in 12 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts. He is scheduled to start Game 2 of the regular season on Saturday at Baltimore.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson made his fourth and final Spring Training start Sunday afternoon as the Twins lost to the Red Sox, 6-1. Gibson went 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, including a home run, one walk and two strikeouts.

Gibson wrapped up the spring with a 3.55 ERA, allowing five earned runs in 12 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts. He is scheduled to start Game 2 of the regular season on Saturday at Baltimore.

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"Staying healthy really is No. 1, then just backing down and still working," Gibson said of his outing. "Some of it was trying to start reading swings still and getting back into the flow of that. Sometimes I did well, other times I got caught throwing offspeed pitches when they were looking offspeed. But staying healthy and started using the fastball was the No. 1 goal."

Gibson allowed a leadoff homer to Mookie Betts. But that was not the one that bothered him. A two-out double to Christian Vazquez in the second inning did.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"The Vazquez double was probably the worst pitch I threw," he said. "A changeup down the middle, in a situation where if I just get that down, it's probably a ground ball, at worst. They had three shift-beating ground balls that were just out of the reach of guys. The Betts' homer was just a curveball down the middle. So you never want to give up hits, but I think it goes back to most of those were offspeed pitches that I was throwing really in offspeed counts and they were just a little bit too predictable and too much over the plate."

Finding a new confidence in his fastball was a key last season, which Gibson hopes to carry over into this season.

"One thing I found last year was just getting outs with my fastball is a whole lot easier than I was making it out to be, and I wasn't giving my fastball enough credit," he said. "So anytime that you can throw fastballs in hitters' counts and locate it and get outs, as a starting pitcher especially, that's the goal there."

Video: NYY@MIN: Hughes strikes out Drury swinging to end 1st

Hughes' status TBD

Manager Paul Molitor is cautiously optimistic right-hander Phil Hughes, who sustained a left oblique strain Thursday, could be pitching within the next few days.

"I haven't been given a grade of how severe [the strain is]," Molitor said. "I think there's some optimism that it won't be long before he's pitching again. I'm talking maybe days even. But that puts us in a bind, too."

It's the element of the unknown that can make decisions difficult, especially at this point on the calendar.

"We don't have the answers," Molitor said. "I wish I had more. I don't like the feeling that we're kind of hanging up here on a few people.

"Obviously, it has an impact on Gabriel Moya and [Rule 5 Draft pick] Tyler Kinley and how that's going to proceed. We can map out the various scenarios -- if he's healthy, if he's not, if he's on the [disabled list] or he's not. Just have to tell those guys they're coming with us to Washington and stay tuned."

The Twins have until Wednesday before they must file their official roster.

This and that

Zach Duke pitched a perfect inning against the Red Sox, giving him 7 2/3 scoreless innings this spring. It is the first time in five years as a reliever that Duke has had a scoreless spring.

Brian Dozier went 2-for-2 with a walk and a leadoff home run against Red Sox left-hander David Price. It was Dozier's second spring homer.

Ryan LaMarre went 0-for-1, finishing the spring batting .475 (19-for-40) in 23 games.

Logan Morrison went 1-for-3, finishing the spring batting .310 (9-for-29).

• Before the game, the Twins released right-hander Michael Kohn.

Up next

The Twins are off Monday and travel to Washington to face the Nationals in an exhibition game on Tuesday at 3:05 p.m. CT on Gameday Audio. Right-hander Jose Berrios is scheduled to start. In five Grapefruit League outings spanning 16 innings, he posted a 1.69 ERA, allowing five runs, three earned, on 14 hits and five walks with 13 strikeouts. The Nationals have not yet announced a starting pitcher. The Twins will fly from Fort Myers Monday morning.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

Minnesota Twins, Kyle Gibson