Twins' Trevor Plouffe sidelined by ailing thumb, clearing the way for Danny Valencia's return to the bigs.
By JOAN NIESENFS North
MINNEAPOLIS – The Twins placed Trevor Plouffe on the 15-day disabled list on Friday, retroactive to July 21. The third baseman has been suffering from a bruised right thumb and attempted to return for Friday's game before ultimately being placed on the disabled list.
To replace Plouffe, the Twins called up Danny Valencia from Triple-A, where he's played since May 9. He's batted .250 with 7 home runs and 37 RBI this season in Rochester, a marked improvement over his .190 average in the major leagues this year. Valencia will be in uniform for Saturday night's game against Cleveland at Target Field.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan said promoting Valencia was a natural move, especially after the third baseman spent most of 2010 and all of 2011 in the majors. However, Ryan was realistic about Valencia's performance in Triple-A, saying that he played "OK." Valencia's play might not have been indicative of his overall improvement, Ryan said, reflecting his unhappiness with returning to the minor leagues.
It will be up to Valencia to seize this opportunity, no matter how poorly or how well he's been playing in the minors, and there's no better person to model his effort after than the player he's replacing.
"Sometimes when an opportunity arises, you take advantage of it, just like Plouffe did," Ryan said.
Ryan added that he was grateful that Plouffe didn't act like a martyr and go out for a few at-bats before realizing the thumb had not recovered. That would have burned the team's ability to place him on the disabled list retroactively; now, if recovered, he'll be able to return on Aug. 5 against Boston.
"He swung early in the cage, was okay, threw it," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But as soon as he got out there on the field and started playing out there, he felt it. No good."
Against the Indians on Friday, Gardenhire decided to play Alexi Casilla at second base and move Jamey Carroll to third base to compensate before Valencia arrives.