Spring debut provides Hughes some important work

Spring debut provides Hughes some important work

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While his first spring start on Saturday against the Red Sox didn't go as planned, Twins right-hander Phil Hughes isn't reading too much into it.

Hughes labored through the outing, allowing three hits in one inning of work, plus facing two hitters in the second.

"Some interesting dynamics out there today," Hughes said after the 4-2 loss. "Sometimes you just want to get your legs underneath you and get a nice easy outing, but there's something to be said for working out of a jam and some high-stress situations and really get 2015 off to a good start.

"It's not exactly how I would have wanted things to go. It is all a process. Some good things and bad things."

Hughes allowed back-to-back hits to begin the outing, before retiring David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in order to get out of the jam. He tossed 27 pitches in the inning.

Because of the high pitch count, the Twins put some thought into whether Hughes should go out for the second. But once they decided to send him back out to the mound, the right-hander was able to work his changeup into the mix.

While Hughes didn't find much success with it, manager Paul Molitor believes the changeup can be an important pitch for Hughes come the regular season.

"It is another pitch that will help," Molitor said. "It just puts another pitch in the opposing team's head. You can use it at any time. He'd like to incorporate that more, and down here is his chance to get a feel for it."

Hughes' main focus going into his next start will be to have better command.

"I was a little all over the place today,"  Hughes said. "It is expected not to feel great the first time out. Hopefully I just take those baby steps and get a little bit better command with everything."

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @qlr5001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.