ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Shortstop Jorge Polanco is expected to be one of two Twins players optioned on Monday to make room for players coming off the disabled list. But he’ll return to the minors knowing he left a good impression.
After making three pinch-hit appearances, Polanco made his first start Sunday, batting ninth and playing shortstop against the Rangers. He fared well, going 1-for-2 with an RBI double, walk and run scored in the Twins’ 3-2 victory. He also made two putouts and had five assists in the field.
“He pretty much covered the field with plays he had to make and made some really nice throws,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “A good performance and fun to see. He killed one to right-center field [in the fifth inning] that [Alex] Rios ran down. He’s doing fine. He’s got things to learn, but he is doing just fine.”
The Twins worked with Polanco over the weekend on his backhanded stops and tried to help him to make more consistent throws. Gardenhire said he’s been in contact with Twins minor league field coordinator Joel Lepel and minor league infield coordinator Sam Perlozzo about what they want to see Polanco work on when he returns to the minors.
His one mistake came in the first inning when Adrian Beltre drove in a run with a single but got caught between first and second base. Polanco took the throw from Oswaldo Arcia and got rid of it too quickly instead of running Beltre back to first. Beltre ended up diving into second safely because Polanco was away from the bag after making the throw and Eduardo Escobar was late covering second.
But Polanco, who was 2-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBI during his brief stay, felt he showed the Twins what he can do.
“Every day I learn about the game,” he said. “I learned a lot.”
Coach Paul Molitor helped him a lot over the weekend.
“Talked to Paul Molitor. Hall of Fame,” Polanco said. “Always good.”
Plouffe is ready
Trevor Plouffe has spent three days working out with the Twins, and is expected to be activated Monday in time for the series opener against the Royals.
Plouffe, who landed on the 15-day disabled list on June 15 because of a rib injury, was tentative when he swung in the cage Friday but looked more aggressive Saturday and likes where his swing is at as he prepares to return to the lineup.
“It wasn’t that I felt anything to make me tentative, it’s just your body protecting you,” Plouffe said. “That’s an area you really have to use to get through the ball. For whatever reason I was tentative with it. I wasn’t allowing myself to get through the ball. I was compensating.”
Infielder Eduardo Nunez was 2-for-3 with a run scored on Saturday while playing right field for Class AA New Britain during a rehabilitation assignment. Nunez, who is coming back from a strained right hamstring, headed for the Twin Cities on Sunday and will be activated in time for Monday’s game, too.
To make room for Plouffe and Nunez, the Twins are expected to option Pedro Florimon to Class AAA Rochester in addition to Polanco likely heading back to Class A Fort Myers.
• Joe Mauer’s RBI single in the third inning ran his hitting streak to 10 games. But Neal Cotts entered the game in the eighth and got Mauer to ground out to second. The ball was sharply hit, but it made Mauer 0-for-3 against Cotts in the series as they faced each other in every game.