Hughes was claimed off waivers on Wednesday by the Minnesota Twins. He had been designated for assignment by the Royals last Thursday.
For much of last season, Hughes was the only left-hander in the Royals' bullpen, and he appeared in 57 games, second most for an American League rookie, with a 1-3 record and a 3.83 ERA.
His first Major League victory came on May 14 against the Chicago White Sox when he pitched a scoreless inning.
Hughes, 28, also appeared in eight games with a 0-2 record in 2009. Although he was frequently used against left-handed hitters, he wasn't particularly effective against them -- they batted .261 against him compared to .272 by right-handers.
He figured to have plenty of competition in camp this year due to an influx of nine lefties from the Minor Leagues.
Hughes made six starts this winter in the Puerto Rico Baseball League and was 3-2 with a 6.99 ERA for San Juan.
The Royals selected Hughes, who played at Delta State University in Mississippi, in the 11th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. He missed 2006 after undergoing elbow surgery, but he rebounded to go 6-2 with a 3.08 ERA for Double-A Wichita the next year.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.