Twins call up prospect Trevor Plouffe to fill in for injured J.J. Hardy

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Initially when the Twins placed J.J. Hardy on the disabled list they thought he’d return after the minimum 15 days and called up 28-year-old, light-hitting utility man Matt Tolbert rather than a legitimate prospect to replace him on the roster.
However, now Hardy’s wrist injury is proving more serious than originally thought and he’s not expected to return until at least next week, so the Twins have called up 24-year-old former first-round pick Trevor Plouffe and he’ll be in the starting lineup at shortstop tonight against the Brewers.
Plouffe was the 20th overall pick in the 2004 draft and the Twins pushed him very aggressively through the minors, but he never cracked even a .750 OPS at any level and hit just .256 with a .704 OPS in nearly 3,000 plate appearances prior to this year. He ranked just 27th on my annual list of the Twins’ top prospects this offseason, but Plouffe has finally shown some pop at the plate in his third crack at Triple-A, hitting .303 with 18 extra-base hits and an .860 OPS in 38 games prior to the call-up.
Obviously six weeks of solid hitting at Triple-A doesn’t cancel out six years of poor numbers at every level, but Plouffe is still just 24 and the Twins seem confident that the strides he’s made this season are legitimate. Minnesota has had trouble developing young middle infielders for basically Ron Gardenhire’s whole tenure, so with Hardy perpetually banged up and Orlando Hudson manning second base on a one-year contract Plouffe taking a step forward would be huge.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.