Plouffe no closer to returning

Minnesota Twins' Trevor Plouffe (24)

Photo: Keith Srakocic, Associated Press - Ap

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CHICAGO - Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe doesn't figure to play in the three-game series against the White Sox because of a bruised right thumb, increasing the chances he could land on the disabled list.

Plouffe tried to swing a bat Monday but felt discomfort and was shut down.

"He took two swings and walked back in," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Definitely not ready."

Speaking to reporters while his thumb was hooked up to an electrical stimulation machine, Plouffe said he did feel some improvement, but is not quite all the way back.

"It just wasn't where it needs to be yet," he said. "We tried another pad today to take some stress off that point, where the bat contacts my thumb area and it just didn't work."

Plouffe, who has not played since injuring the thumb Friday night at Kansas City, was later examined by a doctor, who said he had nothing more than a bone bruise. He was given medication and is expected to be out a couple more days.

If Plouffe is still not ready to play Friday against Cleveland, he could be put on the DL. Should that happen, the Twins' best third base option at Class AAA Rochester is the player Plouffe replaced, Danny Valencia, who hasn't been tearing things up. Valencia is batting .249 with seven homers and 46 RBI in 66 games for the Red Wings since his demotion May 9.

But the Twins might have no other choice but to give Valencia another chance if Plouffe, batting .259 with 19 homers and 38 RBI, needs more time to heal. The Twins lineup lacks punch when Plouffe isn't playing.

Jamey Carroll started Monday at third base for the third game in a row, making nice plays on back-to-back grounders in the seventh inning to retire Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko.

Paternity leave over

First baseman Justin Morneau, another player whose presence is missed in the lineup, was scheduled to fly from the Twin Cities to Chicago on Monday and join the Twins in time for Tuesday's game. Morneau's wife, Krista, gave birth on Saturday to their second child, Martin.

Morneau was allowed to be away three days, per the league's paternity policy. Monday was his third day, and he was reinstated after the 7-4 loss to Chicago. First baseman Chris Parmelee, who was called up to replace Morneau on the roster, was sent back to Rochester.

Gardenhire tried to get Parmelee into the lineup Monday, but he wanted to keep Ryan Doumit's bat in the lineup at designated hitter following his two homers and four RBI on Sunday. Since Drew Butera is Francisco Liriano's catcher, Joe Mauer started at first base again. So there was no room for Parmelee, who started Saturday night against the Royals.

Doumit credits Vavra

Doumit, who hit an eighth-inning homer off former Twins righthander Jesse Crain on Monday to give him 10 homers this season, said recent work with hitting coach Joe Vavra has paid off.

"He had pointed something out in my stance and swing that I have been working on, working with him a lot in the cage," Doumit said. "I feel like I'm getting to the ball a little better. I owe it all to him."

Doumit is the third Twins player ever to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game. He also is the fourth major leaguer to do it this season, joining Yankees sluggers Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher and San Diego's Yasmani Grandal, who achieved the feat last month for his first two major league hits.

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