Twins: Bartlett learns you can't turn back on competition

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 25, 2006 - 12:10 AM

Ron Gardenhire howled as overeager minor leaguer Trevor Plouffe inserted himself into the game at short.

FORT MYERS, FLA. - Jason Bartlett thought he was in a three-way battle for the Twins starting shortstop job this spring.

He wasn't counting Trevor Plouffe.

But in a moment only spring training can provide, the 19-year-old Plouffe staged a one-man coup Friday, stealing Bartlett's spot during a 3-1 victory over the New York Yankees.

The Twins had invited Plouffe (pronounced ploof) to spend a game with the big league squad, rewarding the promising 2004 first-round draft pick who has yet to climb above Class A.

In the sixth inning, bench coach Steve Liddle told him to be ready. Plouffe apparently took that to mean he was going in immediately. When the inning ended, Bartlett was supposed to remain at shortstop, but the kid was already in his spot, taking ground balls.

"He just ran out to shortstop!" Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, laughing hysterically afterward. "He took [Bartlett] out! He just went in! ... That's why you never know what might happen in this game. You turn your back for one second, you've got a whole new team out there."

Bartlett had a good chuckle, too, even though it cost him an at-bat. He was 1-for-2, singling and grounding out against All-Star lefthander Randy Johnson.

Plouffe took his turn in the seventh inning, popping out against Yankees minor leaguer Jose Enger Veras.

"You can do whatever you want when you're a first-rounder, I guess," Bartlett said, smiling. "He wants at-bats, so he goes out and gets one without even asking."

Bartlett's easygoing manner could be viewed as a sign of his confidence, even though Gardenhire has yet to anoint him over Nick Punto and Juan Castro for the starting job.

Bartlett, 26, quietly passed an important test Friday. Two nights earlier, he turned in a shaky performance against Cincinnati, dropping a routine popup and taking a third strike that ended the game.

After sitting out while Punto played Thursday, Bartlett faced the unenviable task of facing the 6-10 Johnson.

This wasn't a watered-down version of Johnson, either. The 42-year-old lefthander held the Twins to one run on five hits in six1/3 innings.

Bartlett had two of the better at-bats of the day against Johnson and made all the plays in the field. For the spring, he's batting .387, while Punto's average has slipped to .310.

Castro has been out since injuring his right wrist in the World Baseball Classic, but he had a double during a minor league game Friday and looked ready to return soon.

Gardenhire seemed pleased with the way Bartlett responded from Wednesday night's performance, but he wasn't about to let the ribbing end.

Asked if he was ready to name his starting shortstop, Gardenhire quipped, "Plouffe. ... He took over."

Kubel update

With lingering uncertainty over whether Michael Cuddyer (strained oblique) and Ruben Sierra (strained quad) will be ready to start the season, Gardenhire mentioned the possibility of right fielder Jason Kubel making the club in a platoon roll.

In that scenario, Kubel, coming back from knee surgery, would probably get starts against righthanders, with Lew Ford starting against lefties. If Kubel took over, he would probably play every day, Gardenhire said.


Carlos Silva had a better start than he had Sunday against Tampa Bay, holding the Yankees to one run on three hits in four innings. He threw only 50 pitches, remaining behind the other starters after pitching in relief during the WBC.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Montreal 7:30 PM
Arizona 8:00 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question