Trevor Plouffe on track to return from thumb injury on Monday

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Trevor Plouffe hasn’t played since jamming his right thumb on a swing back on July 20, but he could be back in the Twins’ starting lineup on Monday if all goes according to plan.

Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that Plouffe was cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment after making it through batting practice last night without any discomfort in his thumb. He’s slated to play with Triple-A Rochester on Saturday and Sunday and could be activated for Monday’s series opener against the Tigers.

Plouffe has been a pleasant surprise for the fourth-place Twins this season, batting .259/.330/.425 with 19 home runs, 38 RBI and an .855 OPS in 74 games played.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.