DOWN ON THE FARM – Luke Hughes will get his chance
Despite fading badly towards the end of Spring Training there is no doubt in the mind of some correspondents that Luke Hughes will get his chance sometime during 2011. Wally Fish, Senior Editor at Pucket’s Pond had this to say of the decision to send Luke to AAA.
Luke Hughes will play a role in the fortunes of the 2011 Twins, of that I have no doubt. This move of course means that Matt Tolbert wins the infield utility role and I’m perfectly okay with that. Since March 18th, Hughes has just one hit – a HR – in 21 at bats. He led the team in HR and RBI this spring with 6 and 15 respectively and his 65 at bats also led the team. There is no question that the organization gave him a long and honest look to win a job, but in the end he came up just short. The questions about his defense surely played a part in that as well.
Matt Tolbert may be viewed as “Gardy’s guy” but looking at things from a big picture perspective and without any biases, he was the right guy to take north. While Hughes was fading, Tolbert was coming on strong. Since March 18th – the start of Hughes’ slump – Matt had 6 hits in 11 at bats and is now currently hitting 0.316/.372/.395 on the spring. On top of that, he’s more versatile and sure-handed defensively than Luke which obviously were playing in his favor all along. While Tolbert can’t hold a candle to Hughes’s power potential, he’s not completely worthless at the plate and fits the profile of the typical utility infielder quite nicely. If the major league roster is at full strength and the team has either Kubel or Thome to provide a power bat off the bench, then Tolbert is the logical and correct choice to fill out the roster.
That said, injuries happen and things change so Luke Hughes will get his chance in 2011.