Twins' Plouffe in middle of pink bat battle

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 11, 2013 - 12:27 AM

When Louisville Slugger made a large donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Major League Baseball agreed to allow only that bat-maker to provide pink bats

Trevor Plouffe’s mother, Diane, survived breast cancer, and her grateful son has used pink bats, pink wrist bands, even pink cleats on Mother’s Day to show his support for her and others fighting the disease.

But he won’t be allowed to make his statement of choice this year.

When Louisville Slugger made a large donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Major League Baseball agreed to allow only that bat-maker to provide pink bats with visible manufacturer’s logos for the annual Mother’s Day breast-cancer awareness commemoration.

But rather than provide pink bats without their logo, as baseball insisted upon, MaxBat — a competitor headquartered in Brooten, Minn., about 115 miles west of the Twin Cities — sent its big-league users, Plouffe among them, standard-color bats with a pink MaxBat logo.

Plouffe was informed Friday that MLB considered those bats in violation of its agreement with Louisville Slugger, and he cannot use them Sunday. Apparently incensed, the Twins third baseman took to Twitter to vent.

“Seriously disgusted that a company would block awareness for Breast Cancer research so their brand can stand out. Thanks @sluggernation” read one, using Louisville Slugger’s Twitter handle. Another of Plouffe’s tweets (@tplouffe24) read: “Sorry Mom. I can’t use my Breast Cancer Awareness bat on Sunday because @sluggernation ‘owns the rights’. Because that’s what it’s about.”

But Plouffe deleted the tweets before Friday’s game with Baltimore, instead posting one that read, “My apologies to @sluggernation as they are not THE ROOT of the problem. Everyone needs to come together and fight cancer.”

Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis is also a MaxBat customer. He told the Baltimore Sun: “It would mean a little more to me, with my mom being a breast cancer survivor, to be able to support her in that way. So I guess you could say it is a little disappointing. But I guess the rules are the rules, right?”

Mastroianni update

The boot on Darin Mastroianni’s left foot was removed after a doctor’s exam Friday, and the Twins outfielder will spend the weekend testing his left ankle to see if he feels any lingering pain from the stress reaction that has sidelined him for almost a month.

Mastroianni still has to go through workouts to get himself ready to play, then probably serve a rehab assignment in the minor leagues before he is ready to be restored to the Twins roster.

Other injuries

Cole De Vries threw 71 pitches over five innings for Class AA New Britain on Friday, and “he’s getting there,” Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said of the righthanded starter. “I would say after his next start, we’ll assess his health.”

That will require another potentially difficult decision, because Antony pointed out that De Vries, who allowed five runs but only two earned in his second rehab start, “definitely earned a spot in the rotation coming out of spring training.” A strained right forearm, however, has cost him the first six weeks of the season.

 On the major league team, Antony said shortstop Pedro Florimon’s hamstring was fine again Friday, after a slight soreness in Boston. Though Florimon was available to play, Eduardo Escobar started in his place.

Closer Glen Perkins felt a tightness in his left side after pitching Thursday to the Red Sox, and he was not available Friday, though the Twins believe his condition is minor.

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