Monday, July 11, 2011

Quick Hits: Demoted Renes, Promoted Plouffe and Span

1500ESPN’s Phil Mackey tells us the Twins, in recalling Delmon Young and Trevor Plouffe, have send down the Rene’s – Tosoni and Rivera.
While the Tosoni decision was relatively straightforward, deciding between backstops Drew Butera and Rivera appeared more complicated. Butera has become the favorite for Carl Pavano, subduing the running game for the sluggish-in-the-stretch righty. Rivera, on the other hand, had coaxed some of the best work out of Francisco Liriano. Neither offered much in the way of offense but in his limited reps Butera has gone 12-for-37 (.327) in his last 36 plate appearances whereas Rivera had been an ice-cold 5-for-35 (.143) recently.

Meanwhile Plouffe’s returning with plenty of fanfare after decimating some AAA pitching. From May 1 to May 20, the shortstop performed extremely well at the plate, hitting .289/.404/.579 with 3 home runs and a pair of doubles. Then, opponents began to pick on a soft spot in his swing down-and-in. From May 21 until his demotion, he went 1-for-22 with just four balls hit out of the infield. Plouffe’s outpour of offense at Rochester suggests that either he’s (a) figured out how to handle that pitch or (b) AAA teams have not been able to exploit this spot.
Denard Span is inching closer to returning writes reporter Rhett Bollinger. According to the manager, Span will be re-evaluated either Tuesday or Wednesday by doctors this week and, if given the all-clear, will be assigned to Rochester for 7-to-10 days on rehab.
Between Ben Revere and Denard Span, the Twins would tout one of the best defensive outfield combinations in baseball. While Span has been much improved in his time in center, Revere has proven that with his speed he can not only cover the area in Target Field but would like patrol the land between the Red River and Lake Superior just as well.  Together, they have helped the Twins convert an MLB-leading 76 out-of-zone catches while making the majority of plays within their designated zone. Their joint efforts in the outfield would give the Twins' fly ball pitchers above-average support.

It’s not hard to imagine Span moving to a corner outfield slot in order to accommodate for the rangier Revere but if there is one position Span should not be moved from it’s the lead-off spot. Although Revere has adequately enough in Span’s absence, Span is clearly a more polished lead-off hitter.