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Twins: Healthy Hughes to replace Pelfrey? Perkins still out

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The Minnesota Twins could get Phil Hughes back from the disabled list in the near future.

According to the Star Tribune, the right-hander is scheduled to join the team in Kansas City Tuesday and pitch a simulated game Wednesday. Hughes has been out with inflammation in his lower back since Aug. 9.

If all goes well, Hughes could be back in the Twins' starting rotation sometime next week. It's also possible that he makes a rehab start in the minor leagues, which would likely be a playoff game at Double-A Chattanooga.

When Hughes returns the Twins will have to kick one of the current starters out of the rotation. Per TwinsBaseball.com's Rhett Bollinger, the most likely candidate to get the boot is Mike Pelfrey, who owns a 10.22 ERA over his last three outings. Bollinger says a poor start Wednesday against the Royals could put Pelfrey in danger of losing his spot in the rtoation.

“You can just look where we’re at and try to evaluate all the starters in the rotation,” manager Paul Molitor said, via Bollinger, “and see where you might have a better option if Hughes is able to pitch.”

Hughes could also supplant rookie right-hander Tyler Duffey, but only if the Twins are concerned about his already career high 170-plus innings pitched.

Perkins likely out all week

Don't expect closer Glen Perkins to rejoin the Twins for the rest of the road trip this week as he continues to recover from back spasms.

“He’s doing fairly mundane stretching and bending and things like that,” Molitor said of Perkins, via the Pioneer Press. “Moving slowly in terms of recovery. It’s looking less and less likely we’ll see him on this trip.”

Minnesota plays Tuesday and Wednesday in Kansas City before playing three games against the White Sox in Chicago.

Kevin Jepsen will remain in the closer role until Perkins returns.

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