CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Phil Hughes was scratched from his start on Monday against the Indians with flu-like symptoms, giving left-hander Tommy Milone the start in the series opener instead.
Hughes, who threw five scoreless innings against Cleveland in his last start on Wednesday, said he starting feeling the symptoms in Detroit a few days ago and that Monday was the worst he had felt. It's the same illness that kept third baseman Trevor Plouffe out of the lineup on Sunday, and has also affected relievers Kevin Jepsen and Brian Duensing.
"It kind of came on with body aches, sweats, flu-like stuff and felt better for like a half-day yesterday, but then last night I could barely sleep," Hughes said. "I tried to go to bed when we got in, but was just feeling hot and wasn't feeling great. It's a little disheartening it came right now, but it's been going around and guys are battling."
Milone allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings in place of Hughes in the Twins' 4-2 win over the Indians.
"My hat goes off to him getting the late notice and getting us the win late in the season, facing [Corey] Kluber and all those things," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He hadn't pitched in a while. He seemed to get better as he went on. I probably couldn't have imagined him getting to the sixth today, but he was feeling good and his shoulder was fine."
Molitor made the decision once Hughes came to the ballpark and decided to go with Milone, who has been out with left shoulder fatigue since Sept. 17. But Milone threw a bullpen session with no issues on Saturday and Molitor said he was the best option with Hughes out sick.
"I was hoping it wasn't going to be the case because you don't want to stir things too much down the stretch here, but everyone is aware we've had a handful of guys battling that in this clubhouse," Molitor said before Monday's game. "But the last couple days, Phil hasn't been in the best shape. I got Trevor out of there yesterday. And if you think about the one guy on the field who is going to need to be at 100 percent, your starting pitcher is going to exert as much energy as anybody."
Molitor said he still hasn't decided whether Hughes will start again this season, as he's going to stick with his current rotation. But Hughes is an option on Saturday, which would've been his next turn in the rotation.
"We're set for this series after today and I'm not going to change that," Molitor said. "I don't expect to. We might run into a question come Saturday depending on where we're at, but a lot of baseball between now and then."