Notebook: Plouffe to go on short rehab assignment; Nishioka explains
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Trevor Plouffe acknowledged Friday that his bruised right thumb likely won't fully heal until the offseason, but he will attempt to return to action soon regardless.
Plouffe, who has been sidelined since July 21, will head out on a two-game rehab assignment for Triple-A Rochester this weekend, and he hopes to be activated on Monday.
"Yeah, to get about eight at-bats I hope," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Get some swings, make sure the thumb is good and get him back up here. Got to get some live at-bats. BP is fine, he says he feels good, but he's got to face the ball coming in 90 miles an hour and see how it feels coming off the bat. You put him out here tonight, he takes a swing, jams himself, we lose 21 days... I'm not going to do that. So he needs to go hit for a couple days."
Prior to landing on the disabled list, Plouffe was in the midst of a breakout season, taking over as the every-day starting third baseman while hitting .259/.330/.525 with 19 home runs and 38 RBIs.
He has been taking batting practice at Target Field the past couple days without pain.
"I've jammed myself before and had to sit out a few games, but this is totally different," Plouffe said. "I've never had the nerve be bruised like it is now. The nerve is a delicate thing, and there's really no way to handle it except to wait it out and let it heal on its own."
He added, "It's something that won't fully heal until the offseason, but it's manageable right now and feels good enough to swing, so that's enough for me."
Nishioka explains lost pop-up
Following a three-game stretch in Cleveland in which he made three errors, multiple other defensive miscues and went 0-for-12 at the plate, Tsuyoshi Nishioka remained on the Twins roster Friday, but he was not in the starting lineup.
Despite Nishioka's underwhelming performance at Triple-A Rochester this season, the Twins called him up with the intention of keeping him on the roster through the end of the season.
That plan is now under review.
"It's just kind of amazing what happens," manager Ron Gardenhire said in an interview with 1500 ESPN on Friday. "He played well down there and did everything he was supposed to do, and he came up here and boy, he just hasn't handled it very well so far. Two out of the three games weren't pretty at all. It looked like he was lost again, and that's not what we got from (reports) down there, and that's not what he was doing down there.
"I don't know if he's just hyperventilating up here and can't breathe, but he's got to be able to calm down and handle the situations better than this, and it hasn't happened yet."
One of the main questions about Nishioka's underwhelming performance in Cleveland was why he appeared to walk away from the pop-up he lost in the sun in Wednesday's game.
"I just lost the ball, and I wasn't able to track the ball," Nishioka said through his interpreter, Ryo Shinkawa. "And I thought the right fielder kind of ran over, and I wasn't able to see where the ball dropped. I just tried to kind of get out of the way."
Gardenhire and general manager Terry Ryan have said the same thing numerous times over the past few weeks -- that reports were positive on Nishioka's recent performance at Triple-A Rochester.
If those reports were valid, Nishioka certainly didn't translate it to the big leagues.
"I think it probably goes for everybody, to be more relaxed (in Triple-A)," Nishioka said. "There's more pressure here, but it's an environment that you have to do good in so hopefully I can get my play together. ...
"I mean, every day is a new day. Thinking about today, it's a fresh day. During the season it's always easy to look back at what you did, but I'd rather do that when the season is over. You just want to look ahead while we're still in season."
Revere nearing batting title race
Ben Revere entered Friday night's game hitting .325, which would rank him second in the American League behind Los Angeles' Mike Trout (.345).
Revere is just four plate appearances away from having enough trips to qualify for the batting title (3.1 PAs per team game required), so he is likely to enter the race within the next few days.
Miguel Cabrera (.322) ranks third. Joe Mauer (.316) is tied for sixth.
• RHP Matt Capps (shoulder) still has not resumed throwing. He is set to be re-evaluated Monday, but at this point it's unlikely the Twins will be able to move him before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline.
• RHP Carl Pavano (shoulder) will continue his rehab stint for Single-A Fort Myers on Sunday.
• RHP Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) continues to play long toss.
• RHP P.J. Walters (shoulder) was on a 35-pitch limit for his start Thursday night, and he lasted only two-thirds of an inning, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out one. He will likely be extended to 45 or 50 pitches in his next start.