Hughes outing no concern for Ryan, Molitor

Righty, plus May and Jepsen, tune up vs. Minor Leaguers

Hughes outing no concern for Ryan, Molitor

ARASOTA, Fla. -- Before leaving for Thursday night's game against the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium, Twins general manager Terry Ryan watched three pitchers throw in Minor League games back in Fort Myers.

While official stats were not kept, No. 1 starter Phil Hughes got knocked around a bit while throwing 74 pitches. Neither Ryan nor manager Paul Molitor were any more concerned than they were a day earlier when the same thing happened to Ervin Santana.

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"He got his work in," Ryan said with a shrug. "Usually when we send somebody over there, those guys are very anxious to face a Major League guy. Like Hughes or like Ervin Santana. And many times it happens that those guys come out and hack. Especially when you're around the plate like Santana and Hughes. Those guys are very comfortable in the box because they're playing with house money. And it happened again.

"They're going up there and they're trying to impress and they're trying to get to the next level. So when they have good swings or battle a guy like Santana or Hughes, there's nothing wrong with them having some success. But no one got hurt and we got through it and he got his work in."

Molitor had the same take. "That's kind of the m.o. when you go over there," he said. "The hitters are going to attack. I was told he threw something like 18 of 21 first-pitch fastballs for strikes and 16 of them were swung at. So you go over there and you're going to get ambushed a little bit."

Trevor May, who has just been told he'll open the season in the bullpen instead of the rotation, and reliever Kevin Jepsen each pitched an inning.

May was stretched out, so Molitor said he'll tentatively pitch every other day and then go back-to-back at the end of the month.

"It's not going to be detrimental that he's stretched out. He's going to have the opportunity to settle in that one-inning type situation over the next two-and-a-half-weeks," the manager said. "Some of these relievers now are going to start doing back-to-back days. And some people we'll try to stretch out to two innings."

Worth noting

Byron Buxton, MLBPipeline.com's No. 2 overall prospect, is expected to get in some baseball work Friday after missing two days with the flu, and play in a game on Saturday.

"But we have a little bit of time and we don't want to force him back out there until he's ready to play," said Molitor, adding that his short absence has not adversely impacted Buxton's chances of breaking with the team.

• The Twins have three former University of Kentucky pitchers in camp. Taylor Rogers, Alex Meyer and Logan Darnell were Wildcats teammates. And each pitched against the Orioles Thursday night.

• Closer Glen Perkins and reliever Ricky Nolasco will pitch in a Minor League game Friday.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.