Polanco finds stroke at plate in August

Twins infielder is hitting .500 through eight games this month

Polanco finds stroke at plate in August

MILWAUKEE -- Patience is often required of young players getting their first crack at playing every day.

Jorge Polanco has learned the challenges of an everyday role in the Major Leagues the hard way this season, his first full campaign as the Twins' primary shortstop.

The 24-year-old lost playing time while enduring a difficult July, but he has bounced back in a big way so far in August. After the Twins' 7-2 win over the Brewers at Miller Park on Thursday, Polanco is 14-for-28 (.500) through the club's first eight August games. In the club's four games against Milwaukee this week, Polanco went 10-for-15 with three extra-base hits and five RBIs.

"He had a good series," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We're certainly shaking our head, too. He did a nice job. I thought our game plan was fine. We got ahead of him a bunch, but he did a nice job."

At the end of May, Polanco was hitting .257, but he struggled to the tune of a .203 average in June. He then collected just four hits over the entire month of July, hitting .078 in 57 plate appearances. The slump cost Polanco playing time, as he started just 14 of Minnesota's 29 games.

"We still believe and never stopped believing that it was in there," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It is one of those down escalators that get young players at times. It is a combination of getting outside of what you normally do well and pressing a bit to get hits and trying to establish yourself here in a first-time opportunity of being an everyday player.

"But he's responded. He's getting affirmation for the work he put in while he wasn't playing. His at-bats have been significantly improved, even when they are resulting in outs."

Polanco now has an eight-game hitting streak and has recorded multiple hits in four consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Polanco's RBI double

His 10 hits in the four wins over the Brewers exceeded his total from June 24 to the end of July, during which he was just 8-for-77 (.104) with three extra-base hits.

"It feels good to know that you can do things better," Polanco said through a translator. "I always stayed positive. I tried not to put my head down, and I always kept telling myself that I had to stay positive."

Hughes has another surgery

Phil Hughes underwent thoracic outlet revision surgery on Thursday in Dallas, officially ending his season. It marks the second straight season the procedure, which removes a rib to relieve nerve pressure on the shoulder, has ended Hughes' season.

The right-hander underwent the initial procedure in July 2016, but the first surgery did not solve the problem. Hughes struggled to a 5.87 ERA over 14 appearances, nine starts, this season, before he was placed on the 60-day disabled list on July 18.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.