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La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Plouffe on paternity leave as Twins take on Pirates

Players can be away on paternity leave for up to three days, but it's not clear how long Trevor Plouffe will be away as he joins his wife, Olivia, for the birth of their first child.

Labor was supposed to be induced this morning, that's all we know.

Until Plouffe returns, Twins manager Paul Molitor will mix and match at third base. Miguel Sano could get some time there, as he's recovered from his ankle injury enough to play there. But Eduardo Nunez gets first crack at the hot corner today..

Jorge Polanco is here and available. Molitor said Polanco still struggles in the field at times. Polanco can hit a little bit, which the Twins will welcome with open arms right now. Polanco doesn't have to be the one to return to the minors once Plouffe returns. Anyone can go, so if the Twins want to keep Polanco around they can send Danny Santana to Rochester to play every day and see if he can get on a roll.

Ervin Santana has dazzled at times since joining the Twins, but his one start at Target Field was a clunker, as he gave up six runs over four innings on July 10 against the Tigers. The Twins could use another dazzling outing from Santana.


Gregory Polanco, RF
Starling Marte, LF
Andrew McCutchen, CF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Jung Ho Kang, SS
Neil Walker, 2B
Pedro Alvarez, DH
Francisco Cervelli, C
Travis Ishikawa, 1B

Francisco Liriano, LHP


Brian Dozier,  2B
Aaron Hicks, CF
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, DH
Eddie Rosario, RF
Eduardo Nunez, 3B
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Kurt Suzuki, C
Shane Robinson, LF

Ervin Santana, RHP

Postgame: Plouffe goes on paternity leave, bullpen help and hot Hicks

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 8-7 loss to Pittsburgh.

PLOUFFE TO MISS A COUPLE OF GAMES: Trevor Plouffe has left the team to go on paternity leave. His his wife Olivia is going to give birth to the couple's first child on Wednesday. The Twins have called up infielder Jorge Polanco from Class AAA Rochester to take his place on the roster. Sounds as if Plouffe will take a couple of days for the great event. This could enable Miguel Sano to get some time in at third base. Polanco is batting .284 in 22 games since joining Rochester. The Twins could look at him at short.

THEY NEED BULLPEN HELP, BUT.....This wasn't the game that illustrates that issue. Well, Casey Fien wasn't too sharp. But if Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins do their jobs, the Twins probably win that game. It happens to the best of them. Tony Watson has been nails for Pittsburgh and he was hit around in the eighth inning by the resilient Twins. But, yes, the Twins do need help to get the ball to Perkins in the ninth. I'm not overlooking that. When what can you do when your best relievers have bad games?

HICKS STAYS HOT: Aaron Hicks was 2-for-3 with three RBI on Tuesday and is batting .356 over his past 18 games. He's making a case to slide into that two-hole in the batting order. And he robbed Gregory Polanco of extra bases in the third when he leaped into the wall to grab Polanco's deep drive. Polanco, by the way, hit the ball hard all night.

Final, 7/29 R H E
Pittsburgh 59-41 10 13 2
Minnesota 52-48 4 12 3

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