Hughes gets opportunity to play shortstop

Hughes gets opportunity to play shortstop

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has said this spring that he will try his utility-infield candidates all around the field, and on Monday that included playing Luke Hughes at shortstop for a brief stint.

Hughes, who is in competition with Matt Tolbert and Trevor Plouffe for the utility infield spot, homered for the fourth time this spring in Monday's 9-0 victory over the Marlins and raised his team-leading RBI total to 13.

He's continued to impress the coaching staff with his bat, but the team also used the game as an opportunity to play him in the outfield and at shortstop for the final three innings.

"I think they are all having to do that," Gardenhire said of moving his utility-infield candidates around the field. "You've seen us put them all at first base -- all those guys that are battling for these jobs. They've played first base, they've played third base, they've moved to the outfield. Every one of them has done the same thing, basically."

One possible knock on Hughes' chances to get the spot seems to be the fact that he doesn't have much experience at shortstop. But Gardenhire indicated Monday that his utility infielder doesn't necessarily have to be very adept at the position, because Tsuyoshi Nishioka can be shifted over there for a short period of time if necessary.

"I don't ask for utility guys to be Gold Glovers or anything like that," Gardenhire said. "I just ask them to be serviceable players that go out and make the routine play or get the routine out. That's kind of what we're looking at here from all of those guys."