Monday, August 15, 2011

The return of Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe gets
another shot.
Trying to interpret this series of moves and rumors ...

On Wednesday, the Twins shipped Trevor Plouffe back to Rochester to make room on the roster for Alexi Casilla. (I marked the occasion with this post, in which I opined that Plouffe may have played his last inning at short for the Twins.)

Thursday was an off day. On Friday Casilla reinjured his hamstring. He failed a test on Saturday and was put back on the disabled list, and the immediate report was that the Twins were looking at other options than Plouffe or Luke Hughes, with Ron Gardenhire talking vaguely about the waiver wire. By gametime, however, the word was out: Plouffe was returning.

By Sunday the reports were that the Twins had considered bringing in Double-A infielder Brian Dozier, who I referenced in this post. Dozier isn't on the 40-man roster, and I suppose Gardenhire's talk of waivers wasn't so much about the Twins acquiring a veteran infielder as it was about opening a roster spot for Dozier.

Brian Dozier has outhit
Plouffe at each level of
the minors. He also
played each level at
a much higher age.
Instead, it's the defensively inarticulate Plouffe for a third 2011 call-up, with the claim that he'll get regular playing time on this go-around —including at shortstop.

Ugh. For immediate purposes, of course, he figures to play second base. Casilla's obviously on the shelf for at least two weeks, and that takes us pretty much through August.

Which would mean any real shortstop time would come in September. If that indeed happens, I don't expect it will go any better than it did in May, when Plouffe played every day for two weeks and was about as bad in the field as any shortstop I've seen the Twins deploy. But I could be surprised.

Certainly it's not like Tsuyoshi Nishioka has played so well that he can't be dislodged.

Plouffe could play himself into consideration for the 2012 infield in the Twins' remaining 43 games. He could also play himself out of consideration. If the Twins free up space on the 40, Dozier might get some time also.

This figures to be one of the storylines of the last six weeks of the regular season for the Twins — sorting out the infield options for 2012.

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