Another day, another new player in the lineup. One day after Eddie Rosario was a surprise arrival and starter, Kennys Vargas showed up in the Twins’ clubhouse this morning and was quickly placed in the starting lineup. The 25-year-old slugger will play first base and bat fifth against Oakland today.
Vargas was summoned once the Twins got a confirmation from a doctor Sunday night that Trevor Plouffe’s MRI showed a crack in a rib, the result of getting hit by a pitch from White Sox reliever Michael Ynoa on Wednesday. Plouffe somehow hit a home run on Thursday, but the injury became more painful over the weekend. Now he’s headed to the disabled list, with manager Paul Molitor guessing he could be out for three or four weeks.
The Twins could have simply activated reliever Trevor May in his place, restoring their 13-man bullpen, but Molitor is concerned about a number of minor injuries that have thinned his roster. Eduardo Escobar has a sore hamstring, which will likely keep him out until Thursday, Molitor said, and Byron Buxton is sore after crashing into the center field wall on Saturday.
“I feel we’re one play away from having a pitcher spike up,” Molitor said. “We’re thin.”
That’s why he wanted Vargas on his roster, rather than another pitcher. The Twins must still figure out a way to fit May on their roster in time for tomorrow’s game, but for now, Vargas allows the Twins to proceed without Buxton and Escobar and anyone else who may have an injury.
Vargas was batting .235 with 14 home runs and a team-high 53 RBIs at Class AAA Rochester.
Here are the lineups for today’s game, the first of three against Oakland. The game will not be televised locally.