Luke Hughes. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian.
Luke Hughes. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian.

Perth Heat infielder Luke Hughes is one promotion away from returning to Major League Baseball after signing with the Las Vegas 51s, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The deal is a welcome turnaround for Hughes, who was released by the Oakland Athletics two weeks ago and had planned to join the Pennsylvania-based Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Hughes expressed his excitement about joining the 51s via Twitter.

"You can probably say it's been a pretty interesting and exciting day," he posted.

Hughes started his season with a strong Spring Training session in March, leading the Minnesota Twins in home runs and RBIs in his 23 games.

But he couldn't keep the momentum alive and was released from the Minnesota roster toward the end of April.

Only a few days later, he was signed by Oakland and again struggled with consistency at the plate.

Hughes batted .235 with 2 home runs and 13 RBI in 35 games for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats before his release.

Hughes, who turns 28 tomorrow, will return to Perth this summer as the Heat look to win a third consecutive Australian Baseball League championship.

The West Australian

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