MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — While Phil Hughes had no chance to get out of the way of a hard-hit chopper from Adam Dunn, it does appear as though he will dodge a stint on the disabled list.
The Minnesota Twins' best pitcher was knocked out of a 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox in the fourth inning on Thursday night after being hit by Dunn's comebacker.
The ball struck Hughes just above the right ankle and hurt so bad that Hughes had a hard time putting any weight on his leg. But after X-rays showed no broken bones, only a bruised right shin, Hughes was hopeful he would be able to make his next start.
"It wasn't like one of those glancing blows," Hughes said. "It shot right back, and I couldn't even go after the ball. It hurt so bad, I knew something was up. I'm really thankful it's not broken. Upset I couldn't continue, but it's the way it goes."
Hughes (10-7) gave up two runs on four hits and struck out four in three innings. The Twins' rotation woes of the last three seasons have carried over into this year, and they can't afford to lose the one steady, reliable pitcher they've had this season.
In a season that is threatening to swirl down the drain, Hughes has been one of the few bright spots for the last-place Twins. He signed a three-year, $24 million contract in the offseason and has been a rock in an otherwise shaky rotation.
"With the way the rotation is looking right now, I feel a responsibility to get out there and not miss any time," Hughes said. "So that's what I'll try to do."
Samuel Deduno came on in emergency relief when Hughes limped off the field, and the White Sox got to him quickly. Deduno walked a run in with the bases loaded and gave up a two-run single to Adam Eaton to fall behind 4-0.
That was enough for Hector Noesi (5-7), who gave up two runs on three hits in 7 2-3 innings. The Dominican right-hander didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning, and the struggling Twins lineup couldn't touch him for most of the night.
"When you have command of your fastball, every pitch you can mix in, and they're going to swing and miss," Noesi said. "But everything was working today."
Danny Santana hit a two-run homer to chase Noesi in the eighth inning, but by then it was too late.
Eaton had three hits and two RBIs, Conor Gillaspie added two hits, and Jake Petricka earned his fifth save in six tries for the White Sox.
Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee had the only two other hits for the Twins, who were a bit down after seen well-liked veteran Kendrys Morales shipped out to Seattle earlier Thursday. The day only got worse when Hughes went down.
The Twins have lost four of the first six games of a 10-game homestand, a demoralizing stretch that doesn't bode well for the rest of the summer.
"We just have to keep plugging away," Hughes said. "There's no alternative."
NOTES: Chicago's Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a double in the fifth. ... White Sox bench coach Mark Parent is not with the team for the series due to family reasons. ... With regular 3B coach Joe Vavra's hip ailing, the Twins have been using 1B coach Scott Ullger at third and Paul Molitor at 1B. Molitor is leaving the team this weekend to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown so the Twins called up Sam Perlozzo to coach 1B for the rest of the weekend. Perlozzo is the team's minor league instructor. ... The White Sox send LHP John Danks (8-6, 4.35) to the mound on Friday night against RHP Kevin Correia (5-12, 4.76).