JUPITER, Fla. -- With one start, Minnesota Twins newcomer Phil Hughes is already making progress more quickly than a year ago.

Hughes allowed one run in 2 2-3 innings Tuesday in his debut for the Twins, who lost to the Miami Marlins 3-1.

Last year Hughes went 4-14 with the New York Yankees after missing all of spring training because of a back injury.

“I hope that’s a big improvement for me,” Hughes said. “Everyone says these are exhibitions and you go through the motions and they don’t count, but for pitchers it’s really important to get these repetitions and build up arm strength.

“I don’t want to make any excuses for the season I had last year, but I didn’t have a spring training, and it’s definitely difficult,” he said. “To have a healthy spring and build my pitch count on a normal progression will help a lot.”

Hughes allowed two hits and one walk and struck out three. He threw 44 pitches, 25 for strikes.

Marlins newcomer Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his first home run leading off the fourth. Miami’s Tom Koehler allowed one run in two innings in his second start of spring training.

The Marlins won even though they committed five errors and let an easy popup drop for a hit.

“It’s sloppy,” manager Mike Redmond said. “These are routine plays, too.”

 

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