Fill-in middle infielders make most of their time

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 29, 2011 - 6:36 AM

Trevor Plouffe's and Luke Hughes' days as the Twins middle-infield combination are numbered, but they're making the most of their recent playing time.


Luke Hughes (38)

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

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Trevor Plouffe's and Luke Hughes' days as the Twins middle-infield combination are numbered, but they're making the most of their recent playing time.

Hughes had two homers and five RBI Sunday, as the Twins ended a seven-game losing streak with an 11-4 victory over the Tigers in front of the 57th announced sellout crowd of the season at Target Field.

Plouffe had two more hits and batted .333 (15-for-42) over an 11-game homestand that included few other bright spots, as the Twins went 2-9.

Shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka (strained oblique muscle) and second baseman Alexi Casilla (strained hamstring) could return to the lineup this week, so manager Ron Gardenhire will have to find other spots for Plouffe and Hughes to get at-bats.

"When they're not playing every day, they put pressure on themselves, and that's the norm for kids who get up there," Gardenhire said. "They're getting out right now, they're having some fun and they're swinging. Plouffe has really been swinging the bat good and running around the bases."

Over the past two days, Hughes has three home runs and eight RBI, including a homer and a two-run double Saturday off Justin Verlander. Hughes, who led the Twins with six homers this spring, said they've always come in bunches.

"Normally I hit one, probably hit another one right after that," he said. "Then it kind of disappears for a while."

Duensing delivers, finally

Brian Duensing was 0-5 with an 8.65 ERA in five August starts before holding Detroit to four runs (three earned) over six innings Sunday. He allowed seven hits and three walks but got the Tigers to hit into three double plays.

"It was obviously a better outing than I've had in a while," Duensing said. "I made some good pitches when I needed to, a little shaky here and there but definitely a step in the right direction."

Catching help arrives

Joe Mauer, who's missed the past five games because of a sore neck, felt better Sunday and told Gardenhire he should be ready to catch Monday or Tuesday.

Rene Rivera arrived from Class AAA Rochester and started at catcher Sunday. To make room on the roster, the Twins sent infielder Matt Tolbert to Rochester.

Later, a fan in the club level at Target Field was spotted wearing a blue Twins jersey with the No. 7 and the words "General Soreness" written on tape over the name.

Cuddyer watches storm

After getting drilled with a pitch in the left wrist Wednesday, Cuddyer played the next two days but sat the final two games of the Tigers series. He said he'll be back in the lineup Monday and doesn't expect the wrist to bother him again.

All weekend, Cuddyer checked for updates on Hurricane Irene, since he owns houses in southeast Virginia and along the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Cuddyer's father checked on the Virginia home and said there were no issues, other than some water in the garage. Cuddyer had no update on the North Carolina home, which he rents out this time of year, since nobody was allowed into the area.

"I was glued to the TV for the last 36 hours," Cuddyer said. "They got 27 hours of tropical storm weather."

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Minnesota060006   12112
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HR: DET- I.Kinsler (12) MIN- E.Escobar (4), D.Santana (6)


Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta 1 Bottom 11th Inning
Cincinnati 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City 5 Bottom 8th Inning
Texas 3
Pittsburgh 8 Bottom 8th Inning
Milwaukee 2
Detroit 5 Bottom 6th Inning
Minnesota 7
Miami 6 Top 7th Inning
Colorado 4
San Diego 0 Top 5th Inning
Arizona 4
LA Angels 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Oakland 1
NY Mets 1 Top 4th Inning
Los Angeles 1
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 4th Qtr 0:33
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 7 4th Qtr 10:44
Green Bay 31
Chicago 0 2nd Qtr 12:01
Seattle 14
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 0 2nd Half 25:00
FC Dallas 1
Montreal 13 13:00
Winnipeg 11
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 34 3rd Qtr
Phoenix 35
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