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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.