ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Danny Santana’s left knee was no better Thursday than it was Wednesday night. He’s out for at least a few games.
The Twins needed another infielder. So they scanned their 40-man roster and found one — Jorge Polanco at Class A Fort Myers.
Polanco took an early morning flight to join the Twins in time for Thursday’s game against the Angels. He’s the fifth Twin to make the jump from Class A to the majors. If he plays, he’ll be the youngest Twin (20) to make his debut since Joe Mauer arrived at 20 in 2004.
“We’ll have the body on the bench we desperately need,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Polanco, a switch hitter, is batting .289 with five home runs and 35 RBI for the Miracle. Gardenhire said he’s not afraid to put Polanco in a game, but it’s likely he will man the bench through the weekend series in Texas before heading back to Fort Myers.
Trevor Plouffe (rib) and Eduardo Nunez (right hamstring) could come off the disabled list by Monday, so General Manager Terry Ryan elected to wait for them to get healthy rather than make room on the 40-man roster to call up someone such as Doug Bernier, who’s been playing well of late at Class AAA Rochester.
“Hopefully everything will work out to the point where it lasts about four days here,” Ryan said. “I didn’t want to jeopardize losing a player just for that short of a stint.”
Polanco signed for $750,000 in 2009 and was part of the same international signing class as Miguel Sano and Max Kepler. He hit .308 at Class A Cedar Rapids last season and .318 at short-season Elizabethton in 2012. Polanco is trying to prove this season that he can be a full-time shortstop. He’s committed 21 errors, but only one in his past 10 games.
Polanco will join Jim Manning (1962), Butch Wynegar (1976), Kent Hrbek (1981) and Jim Eisenreich (1982) as players the Twins have called up from Class A to the majors.
Plouffe will join the team in Texas and work out for three days in anticipation of being called up Monday. Nunez began a rehabilitation assignment at Class AA New Britain with the same expectations.
The Twins, meanwhile, found out Santana has a left knee bone bruise and is considered day to day. Santana injured the knee Wednesday while legging out a double and underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging exam on Thursday.
Pino to Rochester
To make room for Polanco, the Twins optioned righthander Yohan Pino to Class AAA Rochester after two starts. Pinto gave up five runs over three innings Wednesday.
Pino said he feels he showed the Twins he can pitch on the major league level.
“I’m going to go down there and pitch well and come back soon,” Pino said. “They needed a spot.”
The Twins will announce in a few days who will take Pino’s spot in the rotation. It would be easy to give the start to Samuel Deduno, who lost his spot to Pino but pitched four scoreless innings in relief of him on Wednesday.