Souhan: To stop questions, Plouffe needs to make plays

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 29, 2011 - 10:36 PM

Since 2004, the shortstop has been in the Twins system -- in which fundamentals are taught, valued and expected.

hide

Twins shortstop Trevor Plouffe made a diving stop on a line drive, but threw the ball wildly to first base. He was charged with an error in the third inning.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Major League Baseball is in the midst of an offensive downturn, now that only one player, apparently, is allowed to use performance-enhancing drugs.

Never fear, Bud Selig. The Twins are working to increase the number of runs scored in the big leagues this year. They're playing a shortstop named Trevor Plouffe.

Sunday afternoon at Target Field, Plouffe escaped with only one official error, but should have been charged with three. He also could have been charged with assault after throwing a couple of balls toward the first-base box seats.

The Angels scored three runs because of Plouffe's misplays in the Twins' 6-5 loss on Sunday, hours after Twins manager Ron Gardenhire revealed the content of several stern conversations he's had with his temporary shortstop. "It's a little disappointing," Gardenhire said.

Plouffe isn't the primary reason the Twins have the worst record in baseball. He's merely emblematic of two of their many: poor fielding and an unhelpful farm system.

The Twins made Plouffe their first-round draft pick in 2004. When Alexi Casilla lost the shortstop job, Gardenhire told Plouffe to take the job and run with it. Instead, he bobbled it, then threw it into the stands.

For years, win or lose, the Twins offered an aesthetically pleasing form of baseball. The early millennium Twins covered the field with speed and style.

Their infield of Corey Koskie, Cristian Guzman, Luis Rivas and Doug Mientkiewicz spent more time in the dirt than TMZ. The infield of Nick Punto, Jason Bartlett, Luis Castillo and Justin Morneau made baseball look choreographed as a Wachowski Brothers fight scene.

Win or lose, when the home team makes diving catches and deftly turns double plays, baseball is worth watching.

Sunday, fans were forced to watch Plouffe closely just to avoid getting hit in the head by one of his throws.

"I sailed them, that's all there is," Plouffe said.

Is he thinking too much?

"It could be," he said. "I've been getting all my work in and preparing for the game the same way, it just hasn't really gone my way. I have to look at some video and see what I'm doing and make an adjustment."

What's strange about Plouffe's horrific performance is that he lobbied his way onto the field, then conducted a game-ball-for-every-fan promotion.

Saturday afternoon, Gardenhire summoned his infielders to the diamond for an instructional. Sunday morning, Gardenhire revealed he and Plouffe had met several times, with him wondering why he wasn't in the lineup, and why reporters kept coming to him to ask his reaction to Gardenhire's criticisms.

"We have had two or three conversations," Gardenhire said. "He's kind of a laid-back kid but he showed me a little something because he kept saying you guys [reporters] kept coming up to him and asking him questions that kind of got him mad, about why he's having to answer them...

"He was a little fired up, and I like that. You guys have irritated him enough that he wants to come talk to me about his play, which starts with me, goes through you guys and you take it to him. So he came and talked to me, and I enjoyed that, a couple different times."

Gardenhire said he told Plouffe that standing in left field lethargically shagging balls instead of preparing himself would not help him get back into the lineup.

That was Sunday morning, before Plouffe made like Messi and kicked the ball all over the field.

Plouffe might think this is the time to study video of his throwing motion, but he's been in the organization since 2004.

The throw from shortstop to first base is no longer in the big leagues than it is in the minors. Seven years ought to be enough time to prepare.

When Plouffe complained about reporters asking him questions, Gardenhire said he told him: "It's on your shoulders to make the damn plays and not let a guy beat out a routine ground ball to first base, and show them. Then they won't ask you any more questions."

By Sunday afternoon, Plouffe was facing another round of them.

"I can't go back and fix anything right now," Plouffe said of his misplays. "I just have to move forward."

His career path appears to be as directionally challenged as his throws.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
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)

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 81 4th Qtr 9:45
LA Lakers 73
LA Clippers 60 3rd Qtr
Golden State 62
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 32 4th Qtr 1:39
Louisiana 48
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close