Back in big leagues, Twins' Valencia ends 0-for-28 skid

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 29, 2012 - 1:06 AM

Danny Valencia arrived from Class AAA Rochester and was in the Twins lineup Saturday for the first time since May 9, playing third base and batting seventh.

Valencia was in an 0-for-25 skid and batting .190 with one home run when the Twins sent him to Rochester. His numbers never went too high or too low in Rochester, as he batted .250 with seven homers and 37 RBI in 69 games. He admitted the experience was humbling.

"You never want to be sent down to the minor leagues," said Valencia, who ended that hitless streak at 28 at-bats with a seventh-inning RBI double in Saturday's 12-5 victory over the Indians.

"Obviously, you realize how nice it is up here and what you strive for and what you work for, so it's nice to be back."

Valencia, who scored twice but also committed a ninth-inning throwing error that led to two Cleveland runs, was promoted to replace third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who has a bruised right thumb and is eligible to return from the disabled list next Sunday. Plouffe has an appointment to see hand specialist Dr. Thomas Varecka on Tuesday.

Even if Valencia performs well, the third base job probably will be Plouffe's when he returns.

"I'm not really worried about that at all," Valencia said. "I've always been a big fan of Trevor's. He's a good hitter. ... He's stepped in and done a great job; you can't take that away from him. We're friends. We both want each other to do well, so I'm happy for him."

Manager Ron Gardenhire said the reports from Rochester stated that Valencia worked hard.

"Danny said it's definitely tough to motivate yourself," Gardenhire said. "When you've been up here playing in front of 40,000 fans and you go back to the minor leagues, and you're playing in front of 5,000-7,000 fans, you really have to dig deep. It's baseball, yes, but it's still not the same."

Etc.

• Righthander Carl Pavano (right rotator cuff weakness) had another bullpen session, this one in Fort Myers, Fla., and is scheduled to pitch live batting practice there Monday.

• P.J. Walters (right shoulder inflammation) has been playing catch and hopes to return to a mound next week.

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