Capps may begin throwing again soon

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins closer Matt Capps hasn’t pitched since July 16 due to irritation in his right rotator cuff, but he could start throwing again Wednesday. Capps is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday, and if all goes well, he’ll pick up a ball again a few days later.

Capps is currently on the DL for the second time this year, as he also missed time at the end of June and beginning of July with a shoulder injury. After coming back the first time, Capps appeared in just two games before going back on the DL.

“I think when I came back there was still a little inflammation and some stuff in there,” Capps said Sunday. “I think this time we’re erring on the side of caution, taking a little more time and really making sure everything is out of there, hence the MRI (Monday). … The main objective I guess is to make sure I don’t hurt myself worse.”

The Twins have a $6 million team option on Capps for the 2013 season, which includes a $250,000 buyout. Given his recent string of injuries, any games he’s able to pitch this season will be important for Capps since his 2013 status remains uncertain.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on your mind. It’s something you think about. It’s my career. It’s my livelihood,” Capps said. “Again, I think that’s part of being a little more cautious this time around and making sure I’m healthy and everything is structurally sound. But if everything goes well tomorrow, I’ll start playing catch Wednesday. Some time early September I anticipate being back out there.”

Twins mum on possible September call-ups: When Major League Baseball rosters are allowed to expand on Sept. 1, the Minnesota Twins will no doubt bring up a handful of players from the minors for the final month of the season. But just which players those will be remains to be seen, as neither Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and general manager Terry Ryan would tip their hand when asked about it Sunday.

“We start chatting about these things, and it’s about who deserves it, what you need,” Gardenhire said. “There’s so much that goes into it. So much. If you’re in a pennant race it’s different because then you’re bringing up bodies and parts so that you’re not left short in any aspect. But if you’re not in a pennant race, it’s expensive to bring players up here, to start clocks ticking on young players. …

“I’d like to bring 10-12 guys up; it ain’t going to happen.”

Players must be on the 40-man roster to be eligible for a September call-up. For teams in the playoff race, players might be added to fill a specific need. But the Twins, who fell to 49-65 on the season with a loss Sunday,  aren’t in that spot.

Instead, they’ll hope to get a look at young players who could contribute next season.

“We’re trying to get ready for 2013 when we’re in September, obviously,” Ryan said. “If we think a guy is going to surface in ’13, it’s sometimes a wise decision to let them get their feet wet and see what it’s all about, see the travel and what it’s like to play in this ballpark and the environment, all that good stuff. We all certainly would take that into consideration on a September call-up.”

Plouffe appears set for return: Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe played in a pair of games with Triple-A Rochester as part of a rehab assignment over the weekend as he is recovering from a thumb injury. Gardenhire hinted that Plouffe will likely be reactivated from the disabled list and rejoin the Twins on Monday if he made it through Sunday’s game without any problems.

Plouffe went 0-for-4 in his first rehab game Saturday against Pawtucket. He had to face knuckleballer Steven Wright, who got the start for the Red Sox.

“I said I wanted him to face some velocity and he faces a knuckleballer,” Gardenhire joked. “He’ll play (Sunday) and he will be back (Monday) if everything goes good.”

In Sunday’s game against Lehigh Valley, Plouffe was 0-for-4 with a walk. He was batting .259 with 19 homers and 38 RBI in 74 games prior to landing on the DL.

Vasquez is Twins’ Minor League Player of the Week: Right-hander Esmerling Vazquez, currently with Triple-A Rochester, was named the Twins’ Minor League Player of the Week for this past week after he was 2-0 with 10 strikeouts in two relief appearances (11 2/3 innings).  One of those two relief appearances lasted 7 2/3 innings on Aug. 9 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Vazquez is in his first season in the Twins’ organization after Minnesota claimed him off waivers from Arizona last September. In 28 games with Rochester, he’s posted a 3.10 ERA with a WHIP of 1.131.

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