Twins’ hot-hitting Trevor Plouffe sidelined by thumb injury

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Trevor Plouffe eventually came back down to earth after an out of nowhere power binge that saw him blast 13 homers in 22 games, but he’s continued to play well since then to firmly establish himself as the Twins’ starting third baseman.

Unfortunately his ascension from afterthought to building block is now on hold thanks to taking a Luke Hochevar pitch off his right thumb Friday. Plouffe hasn’t played since then and was only able to take two swings in batting practice yesterday before shutting it down.

He’s been diagnosed with a bone bruise and the Twins continue to list him as day-to-day, but given their recent history of being overly optimistic about what prove to be significant injuries it won’t be surprising if he winds up on the disabled list.

Plouffe was hitting .133 on May 15. Since then he’s hit .296 with 18 homers and a .962 OPS in 52 games.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.