Parmelee puts in work on defense

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2013 - 11:56 PM
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Twins right fielder Chris Parmelee

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune file

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– Chris Parmelee is nursing an injury, but he is playing through it. His 6-month-old son, Jack, left a couple of scratches on his forehead before the Twins left the Twin Cities on Sunday.

“Kids have sharp fingernails,” Parmelee said with a laugh. “But I’m doing all right.”

That’s not a bad description of how he has adapted to the move back to his former position in right field, a transfer Ron Gardenhire describes as “fantastic.”

“He’s playing balls off the wall, he’s been accurate with his throws,” the Twins manager said. New Britain manager Jeff Smith “told me he was one of his best outfielders, and I trust Smitty an awful lot.”

Parmelee is humble about his ability, and advanced metrics show he has been an average outfielder at best this year. But Parmelee says he works on his defense as much as he does on hitting — every day, basically, with fly ball drills and throwing practice — and believes he still is improving.

“Hammer [left fielder Josh Willingham] and I aren’t fast, but we catch what we can get to,” he said. “I’m getting to the ball, and my arm has felt good the entire season.”

Now, Gardenhire would like to see similar improvement in left field, where 21-year-old Oswaldo Arcia has played the past two games due to Willingham’s stiff knee. Arcia’s defense “is a work in progress,” the manager said. “We know it’s going to be a process with him — he’s bounced around a lot in the minors. ... Parm has been fantastic in right, and the kid [Aaron Hicks] is fine in center. Arcia’s still got some work to do.”

‘He’s our third baseman’

Trevor Plouffe was back in the lineup Monday after two days on the bench, and Gardenhire couldn’t have been more explicit about his status.

“He’s our third baseman. We’re going to mix in everybody, but Trevor Plouffe is our third baseman,” Gardenhire said. “He needs to play. He needs to hit the ball, start driving the ball. But no one’s been working harder than that guy.”

Plouffe missed a couple of plays in the field Friday night, against Texas and Gardenhire said he inserted Eduardo Escobar into the lineup Saturday and Jamey Carroll Sunday to “let him back off, clear his mind, and now get back in there.”

The 26-year-old Plouffe said he understood, though he added, “I’m not a big fan of off days.” He was eager to play again, and said he is working hard on his defense. “You make a mistake, the good players don’t remember those,’ he said. “You get back out there and put it behind you.”

Switching to FSN Plus

The Wild’s NHL playoff series has altered Fox Sports North’s plans for televising this Twins road trip. Tuesday’s game with the Tigers, Friday’s at Cleveland, and next Tuesday’s at Boston will all be on FSN Plus, with the Wild being shown on the network’s regular channel. Since Sunday’s hockey game will be televised by NBC, the Twins will remain on FSN that day.

Etc.

• There wasn’t much chatter in the Twins clubhouse about the news Monday that NBA center Jason Collins had become the first active player in a major American team sport to reveal he is gay. But Plouffe said Collins’ revelation will be good for pro sports.

“Hopefully it opens the door for other guys to come out, so they don’t have to live a double life — just come out and be who you are,” he said. “It should have [happened] sooner, in my opinion. but I’m happy for him.”

• Outfielder Darin Mastroianni will undergo new tests on his left ankle Wednesday, but the reserve outfielder will not join the Twins this 10-day road trip, assistant GM Rob Antony said. Mastroianni’s ankle remains in a boot after a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed a stress reaction.

• Samuel Deduno (groin) and Cole De Vries (forearm) are both scheduled to pitch in extended spring training Tuesday as part of their rehab assignments.

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