Mother Nature owes Phil Hughes some money.
The Minnesota Twins’ ace was cruising along during Wednesday night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, pitching eight complete innings of five-hit, one-run ball. He was all set to come out for the ninth when it began to rain. And rain. And rain.
The delay lasted 66 minutes, so Twins manager Ron Gardenhire naturally turned to reliever Jared Burton, who got the save in Minnesota’s 2-1 win.
So what’s the issue here? As it turns out, Hughes finished his 2014 campaign having thrown 209 1/3 innings, and he would have received a $500,000 contract bonus had he thrown 210. Basically, Hughes was two outs away from earning half a million dollars.
Gardenhire told reporters after the game that he won’t use Hughes out of the bullpen in the team’s final four games, so the Twins’ righthander will have to just accept his cruel luck.
“I was very aware of it, but some things aren’t meant to be,” Hughes said after the game, via MLB.com.
There was a silver lining for the Minnesota ace. After another stellar outing, Hughes finished the season with 186 strikeouts and just 16 walks for an astonishing 11.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio, breaking Bret Saberhagen’s MLB record of 11.00 set in 1994.
Hughes might be out half a million at the moment, but if he keeps pitching like he did this season, he could be in for a much bigger payday in the near future.
Photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images