We’ve got some ominous weather here at Target Field. After a 12-inning game yesterday, everybody’s hoping that the weather doesn’t interfere with tonight’s contest between the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers.
Phil Hughes (0-2, 4.38 ERA) takes the mound against righty Chase Anderson (1-0, 0.00 ERA).
Trevor Plouffe addressed his status following an intercostal strain he suffered in the 11th inning of yesterday’s game in the video above. Manager Paul Molitor will give Plouffe the time he needs to see if he can play, but he is also aware that he’s going on the road in a couple days and playing in an NL ballpark.
“He’s still having issues today with the intercostal injury,” said Molitor. “You’d like to, best you can, give a veteran player an opportunity to see how he responds over the first day or two after the injury.
“The awkwardness for our team is that, heading into interleague play, and particularly with games on the the road, that we’re gonna have to have players available.”
On whether or not Eduardo Nunez, a utility player who has been red-hot with the bat, could take over for Plouffe if he goes on the disabled list, Molitor said, “He’ll get an opportunity to play, if we would have to do that.”
He also qualified it by saying all of this is a bit premature, given that the team is not sure what they’re gonna do with Plouffe yet.
Rosario, who has played some second base in the minors, and Sano, who was projected to be a third baseman as a prospect, also have taken ground balls today in case they’re needed in the infield.
“I had Sano and Rosario take some ground balls today. More of an emergency measure for today,” he said. “If you look at our card, we don’t have an infielder on the bench. Hopefully all the infielders stay healthy through the game, and I don’t have to juggle that too much.
“I don’t really want to go there; we’ve talked about that. But with Danny going down, my utility guy, and Nunez in the lineup, puts us in a little bit of a precarious situation as far as what we do if one of the infielders go down in the game.”
Molitor has known Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell ever since he was a child. Counsell’s dad was the community relations director when Molitor played for the Brewers, and Counsell was around the ballpark a lot.
“Just a kid who was kind of, instead of a gym rat, he as kind of a baseball field rat. He just loved being around, and befriended by all the players,” said Molitor.
”I remember at some point, him going off and his dad being really proud that he was going to Notre Dame, like his father had done. And the next time I saw him, he was in the big leagues.”
Oswaldo Arcia has been swinging the bat well lately, including hitting a walk-off single yesterday. It is a bit of a revelation because last year he was hitting below .200 in Triple-A, despite having 30-plus major league home runs under his belt in his early 20’s.
“It’s been a good story here, especially over the weekend,” said Molitor. “He was fighting for a job in spring after a rough campaign last year, so it just looks like he’s trying to make adjustments to make himself a more valuable player in terms of being able to contribute.”
Mostly, Molitor said, he’s happy that he’s spraying the ball around a bit instead of hitting almost exclusively to right field. Defenses were shifting on him, and it was taking away from his production.
“He doesn’t like being taken out for defense, he’s running the bases better, and he’s putting together at-bats,” said Molitor. “He’s gonna strike out, we know that, but I think the quality of strikeouts has been better even.”
Michael Tonkin was throwing in the upper 90’s yesterday, and a player who’s been in the Quadruple-A realm for a couple of years now, he appeared to be making a statement that at 26 he’s ready to be part of a major league bullpen.
“It was a good outing, there’s no doubt about that. You can’t deny how he came in and it was, I’m sure for our front office people, this is what they were hoping they would see from Michael now over the last couple of years,” said Molitor.
“And he’s just had trouble taking his stuff from Triple-A and making it work up here, so it’s gotta be a confidence-builder. I still need him to do some of the things he made the team as, but I know on days when I’m thin, to get him out there for an inning as a bridge to whoever may be closing on that given day, it’s an option.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to follow Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) and I (@tschreier3) for Twins coverage all season long.