Luke Hughes

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Luke Trevor Hughes

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Biographical Information[edit]

Luke Hughes hit a home run in his first major league at-bat for the Minnesota Twins in 2010. He is a veteran of the Australian national team.

In 2001-2002, Hughes was the All-Star second baseman in the International Baseball League of Australia.

Hughes was signed by scout Howard Norsetter for the Minnesota Twins in 2002. He debuted professionally a year later with the GCL Twins, reaching base safely in 19 straight games at one point. He hit .305/.361/.426 and made the Gulf Coast League All-Star team at third base ahead of Eric Duncan. He was 10th in the GCL in average. During the 2003 Claxton Shield tournament, Hughes hit .429 to help the Queensland Rams to the title.

In 2004, Luke batted .284/.338/.418 for the Elizabethton Twins while moving to second base. During the 2004 Claxton Shield, Hughes won the Gold Glove Award.

Hughes began 2005 with the Beloit Snappers, batting .257/.319/.390 in 72 games before being promoted to the Fort Myers Miracle, where he struggled (.202/.222/.262 in 23 games). The second baseman for the Australian team in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, he went just 1 for 15 with 2 walks and five strikeouts.

Hughes returned to the Australian team for the 2006 World Baseball Classic, going 0 for 3 with a walk, strikeout and time hit by pitch. The 21-year-old again fared poorly for the Miracle, hitting .231/.287/.312 in 95 games, primarily back at third base. In the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, the Australian batted .455/.618/.773 with 8 runs, 10 walks and 7 RBI. In 5 games at second and four at third, he was error-free. He just missed the top five for the tourney in average, 3 points behind fifth-place Dirk van 't Klooster.

In 2007, Hughes hit .283/.356/.438 in 92 games for the New Britain Rock Cats and was a mid-season Eastern League All-Star.

Hughes hit .333/.359/.583 for Australia in the 2007 Baseball World Cup. Despite batting 9th, he drove in 8 runs, one behind team leader Justin Huber. Hughes tied a game against the Dutch national team with a 9th-inning sacrifice fly against Michiel van Kampen. Against the Venezuelan national team, Luke cracked a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 11th to win the game. He broke open a tie game against Team Canada in the top of the 9th with a double and the go-ahead run. America's Jayson Nix beat him out for All-Star honors at second base in the tournament.

Hughes batted .522/.577/.652 in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament with 8 RBI in 7 games. He was third in the event in average, trailing Joo-chan Kim and Jimmy Van Ostrand, and he tied Matt Rogelstad, Van Ostrand, Dae-ho Lee and Kuo-Hui Lo for second in RBI, trailing only Seung-yeop Lee. He was one of their best players in their losses to Mexico and Taiwan as 4-3 Australia failed to advance to the 2008 Olympics.

In the 2008 Futures Game, Hughes started at third base for the World team, hitting 5th. He flew out against Clayton Richard in the first and struck out against Jess Todd in the 4th before being replaced by Juan Francisco. He was the only Australian in that Futures Game.

In the 2008 season, Hughes hit .319/.385/.551 with 15 homers in 70 games for New Britain and .283/.325/.453 in 29 games in his AAA debut with the Rochester Red Wings. He then starred in the 2009 Claxton Shield, being named MVP of the finals. Hughes was with Australia for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, going 3 for 12 with 3 runs, 3 RBI, a walk, double and a home run as their starting third baseman. He hit a 2-run homer off Oliver Perez to start the 17-7 win over Mexico. Against Cuba, he scored the first two runs; in the 4th inning, he doubled off Aroldis Chapman and came in on a Ben Risinger hit to tie it at one. Then in the 6th inning, he drew a leadoff walk from Norberto González and came home on a Justin Huber hit to tie it at two. Cuba went on to win, though. His 2009 season was cut short by injury, as he was limited to 97 games and had to make a rehabilitation stint with the GCL Twins. He started the season at Rochester, but also spent time back with New Britain, where he hit .250 with limited power in 56 games; he was better with Rochester, putting up a line of .249/.344/.481 in 37 games.

In the 2009 Baseball World Cup, he started at third for Australia and hit .371/.338/.576 with 4 homers, 10 runs and 13 RBI in 16 games. He went deep off Andley Simmons (Netherlands Antilles) and Jimmy Henderson (Canada) and was the star of a 5-2 win over the Dutch national team, hitting a two-run homer off David Bergman to break a scoreless tie in the 6th then adding a two-run jack off Dennis Neuman for insurance with a 3-2 lead.

Luke Hughes was called up to Minnesota in late April 2010, after hitting .267 with 8 doubles in 12 games at Rochester. Inserted in the line-up as the starting third baseman on April 28, he homered off Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers in his first major league at-bat in an 11 - 6 loss. He was the first Twin to homer in his first at-bat since Andre David in 1984, and the 5th overall. He was 2 for 7 in the majors that year and hit .257/.313/.405 in 22 games for Rochester before a sports hernia cut his season short.

In winter ball, he appeared for the Venezuelan League's Tigres de Aragua (.196/.305/.314 in 15 G) and Australian Baseball League's Perth Heat (.337/.448/.616, 18 BB in 23 G in the newly revived ABL). He spent most of the summer with the 2011 Twins, after leading the team with 6 HR and 15 RBI in spring training. He hit .223/.289/.338 in 96 games, serving as the primary backup to 2B Alexi Casilla and 3B Danny Valencia and third-string 1B behind Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer. He also played briefly that summer with Rochester (.231/.287/.402 in 30 G). With Perth in the winter, he hit .344/.500/.656 with 17 walks and 15 runs in 19 games.

Hughes began slowly with the 2012 Twins (2 for 10, 2 RBI) and was placed on waivers. The Oakland A's claimed him and he spent time with the 2012 A's (1 for 13, 6 K, ending his MLB career), Sacramento River Cats (.235/.331/.353 in 35 G) and Midland Rockhounds (5 for 28, HR, 3 BB). Let go by Oakland, he was next picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays and he did very well in 28 games for the Las Vegas 51s (.314/.392/.543, 20 R). Despite a strong finish to the season, he would not return to the US for the summer of 2013.

Hughes slumped to .247/.356/.479 for the Heat in the 2012-2013 ABL but drove in 22 runs in 21 games. He was Australia's left fielder in the 2013 World Baseball Classic but struggled like most of their hitters (2 runs in 3 games as a team), going 1 for 11; his lone hit was off Leon Boyd of the Netherlands. He batted .269/.350/.453 for Perth in 2013-2014. He then coached for Australia in the 2014 Women's Baseball World Cup, when they won the Bronze.

The Perth native starred for his hometown team in 2014-2015 with a batting line of .352/.431/.608, 36 runs and 29 RBI in 33 games. He was on the ABL leaderboard for average (4th, between Jack Murphy and Maxx Tissenbaum), OBP (2nd, .013 behind Aaron Miller), slugging (3rd, behind Miller and Kellin Deglan), OPS (2nd, 106 behind Miller) and runs (4th). In the decisive game of the finals, he had 3 hits, 3 RBI and a homer in a win over the Adelaide Bite.

Back in the US for the first time in three years, he hit .240/.308/.422 with 12 homers in 78 games as a utility infielder for the Lancaster Barnstormers. Hughes was the hitting coach of the Perth Heat in the 2015-2016 ABL season but struggled as a player (.210/.271/.344). He still was picked as Australia's left fielder for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, played in February 2016, in which he was 4 for 9 with two walks and two runs. He was 6th in the Sydney pool in OBP as the Southern Thunder won a spot in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Sources: 2004-2007 Baseball Almanacs, Old IBAF website, World Baseball Classic website, 2007 and 2012 Twins Media Guides, Minor League Baseball website, Australian Baseball League

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