MLB: With young Twins shortstop Trevor Plouffe, questions abound
Trevor Plouffe got the message Twins manager Ron Gardenhire sent out through the media last week, which was that the manager wasn't pleased with the shortstop's passive play or his reaction to being out of the starting lineup because of that pass...
Trevor Plouffe got the message Twins manager Ron Gardenhire sent out through the media last week, which was that the manager wasn't pleased with the shortstop's passive play or his reaction to being out of the starting lineup because of that passive play.
So the infielder approached Gardenhire for a couple of different conversations, Gardenhire said.
"He's kind of a laid-back kid, but he showed me a little something because he kept saying (the media) kept coming up to him asking him questions and it kind of got him mad about why is he having to answer (those questions)," Gardenhire said. "(I told him), 'Then it's on your shoulders to go make the plays and not let a guy beat a routine groundball to first base and be aggressive, and show them that. Then they won't ask any questions. Then they won't ask me any questions.' "
Perhaps, though, getting the message wasn't enough.
Plouffe had another troubled day in the field in Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Angels, committing one error and making three defensive mistakes. Two of them -- including an error that led to an unearned run scoring -- came in the Angels' three-run third.
Gardenhire took his infielders out to the field to work on fundamentals before Saturday night's game against the Angels and was pleased with how they responded in that game, but on Sunday it was back to what's been a common theme this season.
Plouffe overthrew first base twice in the third inning and then had a grounder bounce off the heel of his glove in the fifth. Gardenhire also pointed to a Danny Valencia gaffe in the third inning, when the third baseman failed to play in on Jeff Mathis, who responded by bunting for a single.
"(Plouffe) kind of looked like he, I don't know, didn't let (the throws to first base) fly, just kind of lobbed them over there," Gardenhire said. "You have to be aggressive and let them flow. He worked really hard on it yesterday, and he did a good job throwing the ball. Today it just didn't work out.
"Like I said, you have to make the plays. Valencia on the bunt didn't get that guy out. I think he started backing up again. That guy's a first-pitch bunter, we've seen it. We've got reports and we tell them, 'You can't back up on Mathis, he'll bunt.' And he did."
Before the game, Gardenhire, in saying that infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka is currently feeling more comfortable at shortstop than at second base during his rehab from a fractured left fibula, hinted that Plouffe's days could be numbered. And after the game he offered nothing more in the way of assurance that the 24-year-old's job is safe.
Asked about his situation at shortstop, Gardenhire said only, "We're still working on that."
Gardenhire said he didn't necessarily need Plouffe to come to him to tell him he wanted back in the starting lineup; he just didn't want to see Plouffe "sulking" about being on the bench.
"I don't want to see a guy go stand out in the left-field corner shagging during (batting practice) who's an infielder," Gardenhire said. "And I watched him two games in a row standing out in left field all by himself, and I'm not into that."
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