Things seem to be heating up in Florida's Grapefruit League. A casual observer might even believe that some teams are a little annoyed that the Detroit Tigers have traveled around the state beating the heck out of the other squads with an air of smug contentment.
Luke Hughes, a AAA Rochester farmhand who played 96 games - mostly at second base - for the Twins in 2011, singled, socked a home run, stole a base, drove in three runs and scored twice in three at-bats to pace the Minnesota batters.
Hughes has toiled in the minors since 2003 and will probably be delegated back to the triple-A Red Wings once the regular season begins, unless Alexi Casilla, the regular second baseman, gets injured again, as in 2011.
The win pushed Minnesota's record to 12-8, though they still trail the 13-4 Tigers in the standings by three games. St. Louis and Toronto are also in the hunt for Grapefruit glory.
If the Padres intend to compete in the NL West, they'll need a good season of work out of Stauffer and their other starters in the pitching-rich division.
Stauffer worked the first six innings of the game, allowing just three hits and no runs while fanning two batters. He demonstrated great control in not allowing a single walk, getting his first win of the spring.
Stauffer started 31 games for San Diego in 2011, compiling a 9-12 record with a 3.73 ERA. His most recent stint was easily his best showing of the exhibition season.
The Padres are a respectable 11-8 in Cactus League play.