Thursday, April 7, 2011


(Courtesy of Twins communications director Mike Herman and Rochester Red Wings publicist Chuck Hinkel)

Former New Britain Rock Cats star Luke Hughes is getting another shot at some major league playing time.

Hughes was recalled from Triple-A Rochester after the Twins placed infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Nishioka, imported from Japan after winning a batting title in his homeland last season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left fibula sustained when trying to turn a double play against the Yankees in New York Thursday afternoon.

Hughes, 26, from Perth, Australia, showed New Britain fans that he was a legitimate prospect in 2008. After spending the entire 2007 season with the Rock Cats as a utility player, he emerged the next year by hitting safely in 29 of his first 32 games.

He was named Eastern League Player of the Week April 26 to May 1 when he hit .406 with six homers and 10 RBI. He was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A July 31 after starting at third base in the Futures Game.

An oblique injury set him back in 2009. He spent most of June on the disabled list and was sent back to New Britain for the remainder of the season.

Hughes received his first big league chance at the end of last April and went 2-for-7 (.286) in two games against Detroit, including a homer off Max Scherzer in his first major league at-bat.

He was returned to Rochester, but played in just eight games before suffering a sports hernia that ended his season.

Hughes played 218 games in a Rock Cats uniform. He hit .319 with 15 homers and 40 RBI in 70 games in his breakout 2008 campaign. In 2007, he batted .283 with nine homers and 43 RBI filling in at first, second, third and the outfield.

Nishioka played seven seasons for the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Pacific League before giving American baseball a shot. He played in all six games with the Twins this season hitting .208 (5-for-24), with a double, two RBI and a stolen base.

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