Trevor Plouffe lands on disabled list with thumb injury

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Trevor Plouffe hasn’t played since jamming his right thumb on a swing last Friday against the Royals and now the Twins will have to get by without him for a little while longer.

Plouffe was originally slated to return to the lineup tonight against the Indians, but he was scratched after he felt continued discomfort during batting practice. The Twins didn’t want to push him any further, so they placed him on the disabled list prior to tonight’s game. The move is retroactive to July 21, so he could return as soon as next Sunday if the thumb improves.  Danny Valencia was called up to take his place on the roster.

Plouffe has emerged as a surprising bright spot for the last-place Twins this season, batting .259/.330/.525 with 19 home runs, 38 RBI and an .855 OPS through 74 games played. And while he has slowed down a bit from his incredible power surge in early June, he was hitting .302 (19-for-63) with three homers in 16 games this month prior to the injury.

Joe Girardi won’t use Masahiro Tanaka in Game 7

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The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.

Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.

Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.

Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.