Plouffe seeks consistency in middle of Twins lineup

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 18, 2014 - 11:30 PM
hide

Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Trevor Plouffe wasn’t fooled by Alex Cobb’s changeup Friday. Plouffe timed the 86-mile-per-hour pitch perfectly, and smoothly whacked it into the left-field seats, his seventh home run of the season.

He hopes it’s the start of something big.

“I’ve always been a guy who tends to hit them in bunches, so I hope that comes into play in the second half” of the season, the Twins third baseman said. “I need to hit more homers. The power’s still there.”

For a guy with more doubles this season than Mike Trout, more than every AL player but Miguel Cabrera and Jose Altuve, matter of fact, Plouffe is not particularly satisfied with his production in the season’s first half. His 27 doubles are already a career high, his RBI total of 44 should easily eclipse his best-ever 55 from two seasons ago, and his batting average (.245) and on-base percentage (.317), while not particularly great, are at least a small step forward from his career averages.

But Plouffe has batted in the middle of the Twins lineup more than ever this year — he’s been the third hitter 46 times, and Friday was his fourth start in the cleanup spot — and he believes he needs to carry more of the offensive load.

“I’m in the middle, so I need to improve in those run-producing situations,” he said. “My main goal this year was to be more consistent, [and] I haven’t done a good job of that. I’ve had some good runs, but I cool off. I know I’m no spring chicken anymore. It’s my time to get it going and show I can be consistent for this team.”

Santana returns

Danny Santana went 0-for-11 in his rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers, but the results didn’t matter much to the Twins. More important, the versatile rookie appeared totally recovered from the knee bruise he suffered last month, and he convinced the team’s decision-makers he was ready to return to the big leagues.

He started in center field but will get playing time at his natural position of shortstop, too, manager Ron Gardenhire said.

“He was our igniter before he got hurt,” Gardenhire said. “He was doing some things that were fun to watch. Hopefully he’ll get back to that.”

Catcher Chris Herrmann was returned to Class AAA Rochester. He got only one at-bat during his week with the Twins.

Etc.

Joe Mauer is “doing a whole lot of exercises,” including several sessions in a pool, to treat his strained oblique, General Manager Terry Ryan said. but the Twins first baseman has not yet been able to do any baseball activities, so it’s still too early to set a target date for his return.

• Injured righthander Ricky Nolasco played catch in the outfield for the first time on Friday, so the Twins believe his elbow injury will improve quickly. “It looks like he’s OK, or near it,” Ryan said. “But we’ve got to stretch him out a little bit, too.”

• The Twins’ switch of Kevin Correia and Phil Hughes in their rotation — Hughes will start Saturday, with Correia on Sunday, after originally being slotted in reverse order — is nothing more than a reflection of their between-starts programs, Gardenhire said.

“It just worked out better this way,” he said.

• Twins third base coach Joe Vavra has a torn labrum in his hip and is in too much pain to stand so long on the field, Gardenhire decided. So for at least the next few games, first base coach Scott Ullger will move back to third, where he coached for several seasons, and Paul Molitor will replace him at first base.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close