Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Trevor Plouffe has the skills it will take to hold down the team's third base job, but it will come down to performance. Plouffe is batting .154 (8-for-52) with no home runs since his return from a bruised thumb injury suffered in July.
"I'll take some of that responsibility," Ryan said. "Maybe I should have sent him out longer [on a minor league rehab]. He was rusty, but now it's time for him to step up and take that position and give us some thoughts that, 'OK, we don't need to address that.'
"He's at the prime of his career. He's been looking for a spot to call his own, and now here's his opportunity, so I hope he takes advantage of the situation and solidifies that. He's got the rest of the year to do it."
Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, just activated off the disabled list, robbed Plouffe of an extra-base hit in the third inning Monday, and after getting an infield single in the fifth, Plouffe finished 1-for-3 in the Twins' 1-0 loss to Seattle and Felix Hernandez.
• Even though Nick Blackburn and Tsuyoshi Nishioka were removed from the 40-man roster last week, Ryan said both could be in spring training next year as minor league invitees.
• Aaron Hicks, a 2008 first-round draft pick, has pleased the Twins with his progress this year at Class AA New Britain, and the center fielder plans to play winter ball in Venezuela to continue honing his development. Hicks played in the Arizona Fall League last year.
• Scott Diamond appealed his six-game suspension for throwing a pitch near Josh Hamilton's head on Thursday in Texas. Major League Baseball has yet to decide the appeal, but either way, Diamond will pitch Tuesday before serving the suspension.
Star Tribune staff writer La Velle E. Neal III contributed to this report.