MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins called up top pitching prospect Fernando Romero from Triple-A Rochester after Tuesday's 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays. Romero will start the finale against Toronto, with veteran right-hander Phil Hughes headed to the bullpen. Reliever John Curtiss was optioned in a corresponding move.
Romero -- ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect and the No. 66 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline -- has fared well in his first taste of Triple-A, posting a 2.57 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 10 walks in 21 innings this season.
"He's been pretty good," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's had some command issues down there as well. We know that he's got high-end stuff. It's fun to watch him pitch. Not lacking in confidence."
Romero, 23, has impressive stuff, with a fastball that can reach the high 90s to go along with his slider and changeup. His command remains a work in progress, but he can miss bats with his electric stuff and could bring a jolt to a Twins team that has scuffled recently.
"His fastball is alive," Molitor said. "He's really gained a lot of confidence in his changeup. It's a swing and miss pitch for him. His slider has been probably the most inconsistent pitch, which he needs, especially for a chase pitch to right-handed hitters. I don't think it will be too big for this kid, the moment and all those type of things."
Romero has had injury issues in the past, including Tommy John surgery and knee surgery that forced him to miss most of the 2014 and '15 seasons. He had a 3.53 ERA with 120 strikeouts and 45 walks in 125 innings with Double-A Chattanooga last year, but finished the season on the disabled list with a shoulder impingement. But he came into Spring Training healthy, and has remained that way this season.
"Last year, his first year in big league camp, he thought he was going to make the team, which was good," Molitor said with a laugh. "This year, I think he handled everything a little bit better and he understood the things that he had to do to get here. You're not sure if he's going to take it and run with it right away."
Hughes, 31, struggled in his two starts this season, carrying a 7.71 ERA with five strikeouts and four walks in seven innings. He's coming off a second surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome and opened the year on the DL with a left oblique strain.
"Phil's couple of starts, we feel we need to get him in a better place to be able to help us," Molitor said. "Throwing him out there right now doesn't seem like in the best interest for him or for the team."