UPDATE: Plouffe’s plan has reportedly landed at Hopkins International, but he’s not expected to arrive at the ballpark in time to warm up. So the Twins have replaced him with Doug Bernier, batting seventh. The new lineup:
CLEVELAND — Even ballplayers must endure airport delays.
Trevor Plouffe is in the Twins’ lineup for today’s series finale at Progressive Field, but at the moment, he’s somewhere over the Midwest, sweating out a delayed flight that might prevent him from playing. The Twins are hopeful that their cleanup hitter can get to the ballpark shortly before 1 p.m. EDT, but with a 1:10 p.m. first pitch, it won’t take much traffic on the drive from the airport to change those plans.
Doug Bernier will play third base if Plouffe can’t make it, and the lineup would be adjusted accordingly, likely with Bernier batting seventh and Kurt Suzuki, Eduardo Escobar and Eddie Rosario moving up one spot.
Speaking of Escobar, Molitor was complimentary on Sunday about a play in Saturday’s game that might have looked like a mistake. But it wasn’t: When Eddie Rosario singled to left in the third inning, Kennys Vargas was waved home by third base coach Gene Glynn, an aggressive decision he might not have made with fewer than two outs.
As Vargas hustled home, Escobar rounded second base and slowed up halfway to third, drawing the attention of third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. Rather than let the throw from Michael Brantley go through for what appeared to be a close play at the plate, Chisenhall chose the more sure out, cut off the throw, and caught Escobar in a rundown for the third out. The Twins were happy to make that trade, Molitor said, because it ensured that Vargas’ run would score.
Escobar filled in for Plouffe on Saturday; today, he’s replacing Vargas, indirectly. Escobar will be in left field, with Rosario moving to right field, and Torii Hunter serving as the DH. At least that’s the plan — but so is having Plouffe in the lineup. We’ll see.
Here are today’s (tentative) lineups, as the Twins try to create their second five-game winning streak of the month. They’re wearing pink t-shirts and using pink bats in honor of Mother’s Day, by the way.