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03/28/12 5:11 PM ET

Plouffe has resounding day in Minors game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Outfielder Trevor Plouffe played in his first Minor League game since suffering a strained right hamstring on March 18, and he went 4-for-4 with three homers and a double.

Plouffe, who went through workouts without any issues on Monday and Tuesday, served as designated hitter against Triple-A Norfolk at Minnesota's Spring Training complex.

He was observed by general manager Terry Ryan and manager Ron Gardenhire before the Twins' Grapefruit League game against the Phillies at Hammond Stadium.

"All I wanted to do was watch him run the bases, and all he did was trot," Gardenhire joked. "It was a waste of my time to go see him hit the ball over the fence and trot around the bases when we wanted to see if his hamstring is OK."

Additionally, Ryan said that Sean Burroughs had an X-ray taken on his left forearm after being hit by a pitch there on Monday, but that it came back negative. Burroughs remains day to day.

Outfielder Josh Willingham also made his return to the lineup on Wednesday after missing two games with a sore right ankle.

Twins release veteran righty Zumaya

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins released right-hander Joel Zumaya, the club announced Wednesday.

Zumaya tore his ulnar collateral ligament on Feb. 25, while throwing a batting-practice session on a practice field at the Lee County Sports Complex.

Zumaya, 27, is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday. Dr. James Andrews will perform the operation in Pensacola, Fla.

The Twins could've placed him on the 60-disabled list to open the season, but decided to release him to immediately create an open roster spot.

"We needed roster space," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "It's as simple as that. It didn't make much difference. I talked to him this morning and explained what we were doing, and he understood."

It will be Zumaya's third operation on his elbow, as he had surgery after fracturing his elbow while pitching for the Tigers against the Twins on June 28, 2010, and had follow-up surgery last year that forced him to miss the '11 season.

It's the latest setback for Zumaya, who has been through a plethora of injuries since coming up with the Tigers as a rookie sensation in 2006, when he posted a 1.94 ERA with 97 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings.

Since that rookie season, Zumaya has dealt with a finger injury that forced him to miss 96 games in 2007, a shoulder injury in '08 that cost him 72 games and another shoulder injury in '08 that caused him to miss 41 games before undergoing shoulder surgery in '09.

Zumaya will be paid the full $850,000 from the deal he signed this offseason even though he failed to make the Opening Day roster. It was originally reported that he would earn only the $400,000 that was guaranteed in the contract, but he would've earned that only if he simply failed to make the roster without injury.

With the move, the Twins have 38 players on their 40-man roster.

Liriano now focusing on location, not K's

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It wasn't his best start of the spring, but Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano was mostly satisfied with his outing in Minnesota's 11-7 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday at Hammond Stadium.

Liriano allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk over four-plus innings while striking out three. So far this spring, Liriano has a 2.45 ERA with 26 strikeouts and just four walks in 22 innings.

"I was trying to stay calm and not overthrow," Liriano said. "That's what I've been trying to do now. I was trying to strike out people, but now I'm trying to hit my spots and whatever happens, happens. It's been working pretty good for me."

Liriano said he's most proud that he's limited walks this spring, as his control has plagued him throughout the years. It was especially apparent last season, when he walked a career-high five batters per nine innings en route to a 5.09 ERA.

So given his success in Grapefruit League play, Liriano is looking forward to carrying it over into the regular season.

"I'm ready for the season," Liriano said. "I'm looking forward to starting the season healthy. I just want to continue what I'm doing here -- throwing strikes and hitting my spots. So we'll see."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.