WASHINGTON -- Ron Gardenhire has 26 players to work with today, but he was talking about a couple guys who aren't here before the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Twins' third basemen have combined to go 7-for-68 (.103) with one double and one RBI since Trevor Plouffe went on the disabled list May 22. "We're catching the ball ... but we miss [Plouffe's] bat. It helps you fill out your lineup with him in there. He's a force," Gardenhire said. "Trev's a guy who's supposed to be here to drive the baseball. So we miss that an awful lot. We kind of counted on his production, but you can't do anything about injuries."
Plouffe was originally injured with concussion symptoms, then went on the disabled list again with a calf injury. He's not eligible to return for a week, but Gardenhire strongly hinted that he's considering another third baseman, too.
"Deibinson Romero is playing real well in Triple-A right now," the Twins' manager said. "He's high on the radar."
Romero missed all of spring training due to a bureaucratic snag with his visa in the Dominican Republic, but he started hitting immediately upon his arrival in the U.S. The 26-year-old infielder batted .355 in eight games for Class AA New Britain, and was sent to Rochester, where he's batted .295 with four home runs in his first 17 games in AAA.
"He's a line-drive gap-to-gap guy, but he can drive a baseball, too. He's gotten better and better," Gardenhire said. "He's really brought himself back into the picture here. Another option -- and he is an option for me."
For now, the Twins have two games in Nationals Park to concentrate on, and Gardenhire said filling out the lineup card wasn't easy today. "We've got a couple of guys who are a little ouchy out there," he said. "Probably can get through one with them, but not two."
Josh Willingham and Joe Mauer are sitting out the first game, but figure to play tonight. Clete Thomas gets his first start in left field, and Ryan Doumit will catch Scott Diamond, as he has in seven of his previous 10 starts.
Chris Colabello is the Twins' 26th player today, under a baseball rule allowing a one-day roster expansion for doubleheaders. First baseman Chris Marrero has been added to Washington's roster.
The lineups for today's first game: