Through five starts, righthander Jose Berrios is 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA, eight walks and 35 strikeouts in 33 innings at Class AAA Rochester.

It just so happens that the Twins need a fifth starter Saturday when they play host to Boston. Looks like a good time to see if the top pitching prospect deserves another chance to stick in the majors.

But indications are that the Twins plan to be careful with Berrios, calling him up only when they feel he's ready to stay in the majors for good.

The conversations about Berrios run even deeper. The Twins want to know if he's mixing his pitches and controlling his fastball. Is he getting away with things against minor league hitters that won't work in the majors?

Jose Berrios start-by-start statistics

"Command the fastball, yes," manager Paul Molitor said, "but he needs the other pitches, too. It's one of those things where we're not trying to jump the gun. He needs to continue to polish. We have all been anxious to see young talent get up here in the past. Right now, I think continued patience is what everyone has a consensus on, for the most part."

As of now, righthander Nick Tepesch is the favorite to get the start against Boston. He threw 31 pitches Monday during a simulated game. If Tepesch doesn't report any unusual soreness Wednesday — and the bullpen is not worn out over the next couple of days — Berrios will remain in Rochester.

"Unless we get into a situation where we have to have him," Molitor said.

Lefthander Adalberto Mejia threw seven shutout innings for the Red Wings on Friday, but the Twins want to be patient with him, too.

Plouffe returns

Trevor Plouffe now wears No. 3, one reason being it was what he wore as a youth, the other as a nod to Twins legend Harmon Killebrew.

And it was an Oakland No. 3 at that, which looked strange after the third baseman spent the first seven years of his career in Minnesota colors. But it's where Plouffe landed as a free agent during the offseason. He batted eighth in the A's lineup Tuesday.

"I told him he's finally batting where he belongs," Molitor joked.

Plouffe arrived in the Twin Cities on Sunday and hit one of his favorite spots, Surly Brewing Company. He enjoyed being back in town but when it was time to head to the park, he was in the other clubhouse for the first time.

"It's just baseball," Plouffe said. "It's getting to know the different guys in the clubhouse. Understanding everyone's personality. That was the biggest thing I had to get over, meeting all these new people."

Plouffe, who was incredibly hot and cold during his time with the Twins, entered the game batting .207 with four home runs and nine RBI.

"I want to beat 'em," Plouffe said of facing his former team. "I love all those guys over there but I want to beat them."


• After the game, the Twins optioned lefthander Buddy Boshers to Class AAA Rochester. The Twins will officially take lefthander Hector Santiago off the bereavement list Wednesday so he can face the A's.

• Lefthander Ryan O'Rourke underwent successful Tommy John surgery Monday. The surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek in New York. Altchek is building a reputation with the Twins, after doing Tommy John surgeries on Joe Nathan, Scott Baker, Kyle Gibson, Miguel Sano and first-round pick Alex Kirilloff.

• Lefthander Glen Perkins threw in the bullpen at Target Field on Tuesday as he continues his recovery from surgery last June to repair a torn labrum.