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.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.