Miguel Sano took ground balls at third base Monday, and Eddie Rosario got a refresher course at second. But don’t jump to any conclusions — both are still outfielders, the Twins say.

Trevor Plouffe went on the disabled list Tuesday, General Manager Terry Ryan said, because the Twins can’t afford to wait and see how quickly his right intercostal muscle might heal, not with five interleague games at National League ballparks coming up this week. With pitchers required to bat, pinch hitters become more valuable, and manager Paul Molitor made it clear he isn’t inclined to play those games with a shorter bench than necessary.

“Trying to go in there with a backup catcher and two position players, a lot of things that can happen in those games require you to have a little deeper bench,” Molitor said. That meant a decision had to be made perhaps a day or two faster than otherwise might be necessary.

Plouffe said he felt a little better Monday, after straining the muscle a day earlier. But he understands the predicament the team is in, and the need for him to be sidelined a couple of weeks.

“It’s their call. I only have so much say,” Plouffe said. “I’m not going to be selfish. If I know I’m not ready to go, I’m not going to hinder my team in any way.”

In his absence, the team called up Jorge Polanco from Class AAA Rochester, an infielder who, though he has played nothing but second base this season, can handle third as well. Eduardo Nunez also figures to get plenty of starts at third as well, though Molitor said he is apprehensive about overusing his top utility man.

In addition, Danny Santana is eligible to return from the disabled list Monday, his right hamstring now almost fully healed, and that gives Molitor flexibility in both the infield and outfield. Santana, Ryan said, will depart for Florida on Wednesday to play rehab games over the weekend with Class A Fort Myers.

That’s a lot of third-base options — but not the one that sparks the most imagination among fans. Sano, after all, was a third baseman throughout almost all of his minor league career, until being moved to right field this spring.

Any chance for an encore?

Not likely, Molitor said: “It’s more of an emergency measure for today. If you look at our [lineup] card, we don’t have an infielder on the bench.”

Added Ryan, “Our plan going into the season was to keep Sano in right field.”

Good news for Perkins

Glen Perkins received a second opinion on his left shoulder, and it was the same as the first: The All-Star closer should be fine after a couple of weeks of rest.

“His agent contacted us, and he got the second opinion,” Ryan said. “It [should be] just rehab for him. I don’t know if I’ve got a time frame [for his return], but I’m hoping. He feels pretty good, I know that.”


• With Fernando Abad returning from the Dominican Republic following his grandmother’s funeral, the Twins sent fellow lefthander Taylor Rogers back to Rochester after Monday’s game. Rogers appeared in one game, getting two outs vs. the White Sox on Thursday. The move means Ryan O’Rourke remains on the Twins roster and assumes the lefty-specialist role he filled last year.

• Molitor said he hoped righthander Michael Tonkin can use Sunday’s outing, in which he struck out four Angels in two innings, as a starting point toward success, after having so-so results in the majors the past two seasons. “I’m sure for front-office people, this is what they were hoping they’d see from Michael for a couple of years now,” Molitor said.

• After collecting two hits in his Rochester debut Friday, veteran outfielder David Murphy is 0-for-11 in four games since.

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