2004 first-round pick Trevor Plouffe, long considered a disappointment by Twins fans, hit three homers and walked four times in a doubleheader for Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday.
Despite spending almost all of May in the majors, he now has 15 homers in his 45 games for the Red Wings. Overall, he’s hitting .308/.385/.663 in 169 at-bats.
Which makes it baffling that he’s still in the minors with the Twins’ need for offense. Plouffe more than held his own in his May callup. He batted just .200, but that came with three homers and eight walks in 60 at-bats. He drove in 10 runs despite starting only 15 games.
Unfortunately, manager Ron Gardenhire soured on his defense after watching him make three errors in just a handful of games at shortstop and pretty much refused to play him there any longer. Since getting sent down, Plouffe has been used all over the place. He’s started games at all four infield spots and both outfielder corners for Rochester. Yesterday, Gardenhire made the call himself, telling the Red Wings to shift him to first base.
From the sound of things, Plouffe will stay at first base for now. If he gets comfortable there quickly, then he could join the Twins right after the All-Star break and take over as Justin Morneau’s primary replacement.
Still, the Twins can’t be looking at Plouffe as a long-term option there. He does have the range to handle shortstop in the majors, and ideally, he still might end up at the position next year. Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Alexi Casilla both seem better equipped to play second.