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Twins have Phil Hughes 'penciled in' as opening day starter after stellar 2014 season


FORT MYERS, Florida — The Minnesota Twins have slotted Phil Hughes as their opening day starter.

Manager Paul Molitor said Monday that Hughes has been "penciled in" to take the mound on April 6 when the Twins play at Detroit, provided the right-hander stays healthy through spring training. That's according to the throwing schedule set up by pitching coach Neil Allen plotted out for the next six weeks.

Molitor downplayed the significance of his confirmation and said "if that's newsworthy, then so be it." The selection of Hughes to lead the rotation would hardly be construed as a surprise, considering the season he had for the Twins in 2014.

Hughes was 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 32 starts last year, setting a major league record with an 11.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He threw 73 percent of pitches for strikes, tops among pitchers who faced 500 or more batters.

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