Coming into his final start of the season, Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes needed to pitch 8⅓ innings to reach 210 innings for the season which would trigger a $US500,000 bonus in his contract.
Despite not pitching more than eight innings since the first half of the 2012 season, Hughes had a good chance on this day with just 84 pitches through the first seven innings. But then the one thing that could stop Hughes from his big payday, did stop Hughes.
When Hughes went to the mound in the top of the eighth inning needing four more outs, it started to rain hard.
It was pouring and the players were getting soaked.
Normally, the umpires probably would have called for a rain delay earlier, but it was late in the game, late in the season, and everybody had flights to catch after the game. The umpires were going to do whatever they could to finish the game and that was good for Hughes.
Hughes worked quickly through the eighth inning, retiring all three batters on just 12 pitches.
But it was just too much. By the end of the inning, the field looked more like the rest of the state, covered in lakes.
And after Hughes walked off the the umpires finally called for a rain delay that lasted more than an hour.
There was no way Hughes would be able to return to the game and when the rain stopped, he was replaced by Jared Burton, leaving Hughes one out short of his bonus.
In fact, this was the second time that Mother Nature came reared her ugly head to keep Hughes from his bonus. Earlier this month, Hughes had a start rained out and postponed a day. If that game had not been postponed, Hughes would have been in line to pitch the final game of the season on Sunday and he would have almost certainly recorded at least one out to trigger the bonus.
While it is conceivable that Hughes will be used as a relief pitcher for one out in one of the final games of the season, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the media that won’t happen.
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