Thome to DL; Plouffe called up

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2011 - 1:23 AM

CHICAGO - The Twins placed slugger Jim Thome on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night because of a strained left oblique muscle and promoted infielder Trevor Plouffe from Class AAA Rochester.

Thome, 40, is batting .214 with two homers and seven RBI. He missed six of the past seven games, with the lone exception coming Saturday at Kansas City, so he will be eligible to return from the DL on May 16.

Thome was listed in manager Ron Gardenhire's original lineup Tuesday but had to be scratched after batting practice. Thome was replaced by Rene Tosoni in the lineup. Tosoni played left field, with Jason Kubel -- who provided the lone run for Francisco Liriano in his no-hitter -- moving to designated hitter.

Plouffe returns to the majors just as the Twins have apparently pulled the plug on the Alexi Casilla shortstop experiment. Gardenhire started Casilla at second base on Tuesday, with Matt Tolbert moving to shortstop.

Gardenhire has instructed Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the team's Opening Day second baseman, to take grounders at shortstop as he rehabs from a broken leg injury in Florida.

But Nishioka remains at least one week from returning from the disabled list, and Plouffe will help fill the gap.

Casilla made four errors in 21 games at shortstop and is batting .194 with a .257 on-base percentage.

"I asked [Casilla] about second base, and he said, 'It's easier,' " Gardenhire said. "We'll see tonight if it's easier. I know he was always more comfortable there."

Gardenhire always believed Casilla has the tools to play shortstop but said, "I don't think he looks comfortable there right now, to tell you the truth."

Plouffe, 24, had a disappointing spring training but got off to a strong start for Rochester, batting .282 with a team-high six home runs and 13 RBI.

Gardenhire said the Twins' reports say Plouffe is having "probably as good of a stretch of playing shortstop as they've seen."

Mauer makes progress

Joe Mauer (bilateral leg weakness) will resume light throwing and hitting at Target Field on Wednesday, Twins assistant trainer Dave Pruemer said.

"He feels a lot better," Pruemer said of the All-Star catcher. "His soreness is pretty much gone in the shoulder, elbow. His knees, legs feel a lot stronger."

Tough news for prospect

Paul Bargas, the 22-year-old minor league pitcher the Twins received in an offseason trade from the Rockies for catcher Jose Morales, has been diagnosed with brain cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments in California.

Etc.

• Gardenhire said there's also a good chance outfielder Jason Repko (sore quad) might also have to go on the DL, and there were hints the Twins might be adding outfielder Ben Revere from Rochester.

• Delmon Young (strained left oblique) is eligible to return from the DL on Wednesday but remains in Minneapolis. Pruemer said the Twins left fielder has been swinging a bat and had a good day Tuesday.

• The Twins and Indians will make up their April 22 postponement on July 18 at Target Field. The game will start at 12:10 p.m. as part of a day-night doubleheader.

Staff writer La Velle E. Neal III contributed to this report.

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