In Thursday’s game against Kansas City, two players returned.
Delmon Young batted sixth. Trevor Plouffe batted seventh.
Plouffe had been called up from Triple-A Rochester. He was sent down on June 1 after struggling at shortstop.
Both had good days.
“It always feels good to get three hits,” said Young, who went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI, “but it’s [also] good that we have a chance to be in a pennant race.”
Plouffe, who hit .400/.475/.714 with two doubles and three home runs in ten games with Rochester, put an inside cutter in the seats (estimated distance: 412 feet) with Young on second.
“It’s nice to do that,” said Plouffe, who went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, of his performance, “[but] I don’t think it’s so important for me to do that.”
The implication is that the 25-year-old who was drafted 20th overall in the 2004 draft, needed a strong performance after failing to win the starting shortstop job in June.
However, Plouffe insists that he is just doing what he needs to do in order to help the team win.
“The mentality I have now: help the team, do what I can,” he said. “I don’t know where I’m going to be playing and that doesn’t matter. It’s just when I’m here: have good at-bats, play sound defense.”
Plouffe and Young set an example for what the rest of the team must do: produce as soon as they put on a Twins uniform.
Denard Span and Jason Kubel have been seen around the locker room. Young is waiting for clearance from team doctors. Kubel is currently with High-A Fort Meyers on a rehab assignment.
“As long as we’re winning games, everyone’s back in the lineup and everyone’s playing like they are capable of playing,” Young said. “We’ve got a good two months ahead of us.”
Justin Morneau has not been seen in the locker room. There is no timeframe on his return.
For now, however, the Twins will have to play with what they’ve got.
Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer have continued play well. Mauer went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a walk. Cuddyer went 0-for-2, but had a run and three walks.
“We had some quality at-bats: taking some pitches, drawing some walks,” manager Ron Gardenhire said of a game when the Twins fell behind the Royals 0-2 in the first.
“You get behind early and you never know what’s going to happen, but we battled through it. It wasn’t the prettiest game we ever played, but it’s a win and that’s what it’s all about:
Trevor Plouffe claims he was not upset about being sent down to Triple-A.
“It’s not that I was angry that I was sent down,” he said. “There was things I needed to work on.
“I went down, I didn’t play for 10 days because I hurt my finger the day I got sent down and it gave me time to reflect on what I need to work on and once I came back I understood that and I did.”
Plouffe says his newfound power has come with age.
“I’m 25 now, so ‘grown man strength’ I think they call it,” he said in jest. “I don’t know. It’s just maturity and learning my swing.”
Tom Schreier is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the Minnesota Twins.