MILWAUKEE -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire likes the recent power surge from Trevor Plouffe, but wants the utility player to have more consistent at-bats.
Entering Sunday, Plouffe's last three hits have been home runs, but those have been his only hits over his last 18 at-bats. Plouffe has also struck out seven times over that span.
"A home run here or there is good, but we need more consistent at-bats," Gardenhire said. "The home runs are great -- [Saturday] was as big as you can get -- but your other at-bats have to be consistent. You have to put the ball into play."
Plouffe started at third base against the Brewers on Sunday, with Jamey Carroll getting the nod at second base. Gardenhire said he's been pleased with Plouffe's defense so far this season because of his ability to play so many positions.
"He looks fine at third," Gardenhire said. "He's moving around all over the place. He's our super utility. He plays left, right, second, first, short and third. And even catches in between innings."
Pavano's Thursday start uncertain
MILWAUKEE -- The Twins will decide by Tuesday whether right-hander Carl Pavano will start against the White Sox on Thursday, or if they'll use a spot starter with right-hander Nick Blackburn on the disabled list with a left quad strain.
With Monday's off-day, Pavano would be starting on regular rest, but with Pavano dealing with a strain in the front of his throwing shoulder, the Twins could opt to give him an extra day.
"We're still working on that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We have a little bit of time here. Originally, the plan was for Pavano to take an extra day, so we're still waiting on that. We might need a Thursday starter, and if we do, it'll be in this clubhouse."
Gardenhire wouldn't give specific names on who would make that start, but likely candidates include Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing and Francisco Liriano.
If Pavano goes on regular rest on Thursday, the Twins could wait until Saturday to use a spot starter, as right-hander Jason Marquis could start on regular rest on Friday against the Tigers.
Blackburn, meanwhile, is still getting work done on his injured quad in Minnesota, and there's no specific timetable for his return.
"He's back home getting treatment," Gardenhire said. "I haven't heard a word since. The DL is good for him. He had the knife feeling going in his left thigh and he needs that to get better before he pitches."
Doumit progressing from calf injury
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Doumit is continuing to make progress with his strained right calf, but is still only available for pinch-hit duty.
Doumit served as a pinch-hitter in Saturday's 5-4 win, but was intentionally walked in the seventh inning and removed for a pinch-runner. Doumit will continue to stay in that role, but there's a chance he could return as designated hitter against the White Sox next week.
"He's a pinch-hitter and then I'd have to pinch-run for him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So we'll see how he gets through today and then once we get to Chicago we'll see what we can do, too. I'll give him as much time as I can, and use him in this pinch-hit role until we make sure the calf is good."
Gardenhire also explained the club's mix-up last week, when the Twins announced that Doumit was placed on the disabled list after Wednesday's game in Detroit.
Gardenhire said that Doumit was never officially placed on the DL, and that the press release should have said a decision would be made on Thursday. After an MRI revealed only a mild strain, Doumit was able to avoid the disabled list, while right-hander Nick Blackburn was placed on the DL instead with a left quad strain.
"It wasn't really getting talked out of it," Gardenhire said. "I just said the night before that we weren't going to make a move until we saw what the MRI said. We didn't put him on the DL. If you read what I said in my quotes, I said, 'We'll make a decision on who will go on the DL.' I don't have any control over the press release."