With Sano coming soon, Plouffe happy to have job

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm •  Published: February 3, 2014
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Trevor Plouffe's spot at third base for the Minnesota Twins is tenuous at best, with one of the best prospects in baseball close behind him.

Rather than resenting the ascension of Miguel Sano, Plouffe has befriended the big-swinging Dominican. For now, the former first-round draft pick still has a regular spot in the lineup. Worrying about the impending takeover would be a waste of time.

"I want to help the team win. That's all I really care about. Miguel is a great player, and if he comes up and helps our team, we want him," Plouffe said last weekend at the team's annual fan festival. "We just want to win. So that's my main thing. If Sano's going to come up and help us, let's go."

After three straight seasons averaging 97 losses, everyone with the Twins is restless for a turnaround. So if Plouffe soon gets bumped into the outfield or a utility role to make room for Sano, well, being a part of an improving roster is better than playing every day for a perpetually losing team.

"That's just out of my control. I just want to work hard and just help the team in any way. I really, really, really do feel that way," Plouffe said.

Plouffe and Sano have taken to calling each other "primo," which means cousin in Sano's native Spanish. As for Sano's English? That has improved to the point where he can effectively participate in question-and-answer sessions with reporters, as he did at Target Field during TwinsFest.

"I play third for my life," Sano said. "Whole life."

His fielding is still a work in progress. He committed a combined 23 errors last season at Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain. But his ability and potential at the plate -- think two-time American League Most Valuable Player award winner Miguel Cabrera -- is the kind of head-turning, lineup-lifting production every team craves at a corner position like third base.

Sano struggled with breaking balls in his first taste of Double-A pitching last summer, finishing with a .236 batting average and 81 strikeouts in 67 games with New Britain. But he still posted a hefty .915 on-base-plus-slugging percentage there in the Eastern League, after crushing the Florida State League for Fort Myers. His full-season numbers were 70 extra-base hits, 35 home runs, 103 RBIs and 65 walks in 123 games.



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