All-Star rosters will be revealed on ESPN beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and unlike last season, when AL (and Royals) manager Ned Yost called to consult, Molitor has no idea which, or how many, of his players will be selected. But if Yost called, Molitor knows what he would say.
“I would recommend that Nunez go,” Molitor said. “Of all our players, he’s had the best first half.”
Molitor mentioned catcher Kurt Suzuki, second baseman Brian Dozier and reliever Fernando Abadas potential candidates as well, but “I think [Nunez’s] numbers support it.”
Nunez, who has played three infield positions this season, entered Tuesday with a .319 average, sixth-best in the AL, with 11 homers, 34 RBI and 19 stolen bases.
“Versatile, productive,” Molitor said. “I would think his versatility would have to be appealing in a game like that.”
Plouffe out at least a month
Good thing Delta has that 6:40 a.m. nonstop from Rochester, N.Y. The Twins are making a habit of last-minute call-ups.
One day after Trevor May and Eddie Rosario caught that sunrise flight to the Twin Cities, Kennys Vargas boarded it, too, having received the summons to the majors late Sunday — after the Twins scrambled for some holiday-weekend medical consultation.
Trevor Plouffe had a magnetic resonance imaging test on his ribs, and “we had to track down our MRI expert” to read them, manager Paul Molitor said. “We got a call last night around 8:30 [or] 9 o’clock confirming there was a fracture in there.”
The broken bone is the result of being hit by a pitch at Chicago on Wednesday, an injury that didn’t keep Plouffe from hitting a home run a day later.
“The first couple of days, I felt it but I was able to play through it,” Plouffe said. Over the weekend, however, “It was pretty painful. So we decided to get an MRI, and that’s when they saw the fracture.”
He was actually in the Twins lineup Sunday, intending to play, but then was unable to complete his pregame warmup. “Just moving certain ways, twisting and turning,” Plouffe said of the increasing pain. “Sleeping is very tough.”
The injury will sideline Plouffe for at least a month, doctors have told him, his second disabled list stint of the year. That’s unfortunate, but it clears up, at least for a while, the Twins’ conundrum about where Miguel Sano should play: He will handle third, at least when Eduardo Nunez is playing shortstop.
Plouffe’s injury could have given the Twins an opening to activate righthander Trevor May, too, but Molitor said his roster is more beat-up than it seems. Eduardo Escobar’s hamstring strain isn’t bad enough to warrant a DL stint of his own, but it will probably sideline him until at least Thursday. Byron Buxton is sore, too, after crashing into the center field fence to make a catch Saturday.
“I feel we’re one play away from having a pitcher spike up” and play, Molitor said. “We’re thin.”
So Vargas, who leads the Red Wings with 53 RBI, was chosen to replace Plouffe, giving Molitor a little more flexibility at first base and designated hitter, since Byung Ho Park has been sent out.
“His lefthanded swing has been more consistent than his righthanded swing,” Molitor said of the 25-year-old switch-hitter, who has hit 14 home runs in 111 major league games, and had 14 this year in Rochester. “He kind of got lost in the shuffle this spring, between the Park signing and some other things. Given where I feel we needed to add some support here in the short term, his bat made more sense than, say, [Jorge] Polanco.”
• The Twins made room for May’s return by optioning lefthander Buddy Boshers back to Rochester after the game, a move that Molitor made clear was dictated by the roster squeeze and not Boshers’ pitching (two earned runs over 13 innings, a 1.38 ERA).
• Outfielder Darin Mastroianni, out since May because of a strained oblique, was activated from the DL and outrighted off the 40-man roster. He cleared waivers and has accepted his assignment to Class AAA Rochester.