8/6/2013 7:55 P.M. ET
Willingham eyeing Friday return against Sox
Twins outfielder could be activated for Game 2 of twinbill at U.S. Cellular Field
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Josh Willingham, who was originally expected to return to the Twins on Saturday, is now a candidate to return for Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader against the White Sox.
Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Willingham is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 11:30 a.m. CT on Friday, and could play in the second game of the doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field. Willingham, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on July 3, officially began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Monday, going 0-for-3 with a walk.
"There's a possibility we could activate him in between games," Antony said. "We just need a shot in the arm. He could be a little bit better of an alternative for us for the second game on Friday. We had four hits last night [in a 13-0 loss to the Royals]. If we can find somebody else who can provide some offense for us, we're open to that, too."
Willingham will be joined by a starting pitcher, as the Twins have yet to announce who will start the second game of the twinbill with rookie Kyle Gibson set to start the first game. Right-hander Liam Hendriks remains the most likely candidate to get called up for the start, but the Twins won't make an official announcement until Wednesday.
The Twins will be able to call up a 26th player because of the doubleheader, but will have to make a corresponding roster move once Willingham is activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Slumping Plouffe gets chance to rest vs. KC
KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who went over the railing to make a catch in foul ground in Monday's 13-0 loss, was held out of the Twins' lineup on Tuesday night against the Royals.
Jamey Carroll, who threw a scoreless inning in his first career appearance as a pitcher on Monday, started at third base in Plouffe's absence.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Plouffe just needed a breather, as he's also mired in a 6-for-54 slump.
"He took that tumble right near the end of the dugout right by us and it was a pretty hard fall, but mentally he's fighting it right now," Gardenhire said. "He's frustrated. You can see it in his swing. I think he was frustrated he was on first base and got picked off. So he just needs a break."
Plouffe said he's fine physically, and was helped by a fan as he went over the railing to make the catch.
"Everything feels good -- to be honest with you, I don't even have a scratch on me," Plouffe said. "I landed on somebody and it kind of stopped me. He was just sitting there. I took a look at the replay on the computer and it looked a lot worse than it actually was."
Shortstop Pedro Florimon was also out of the lineup for a fourth straight day with inflammation in his left wrist, but could return as soon as Wednesday. He took batting practice from both sides of the plate before Tuesday's game in anticipation of his return.
"Hopefully, he'll be in there in the next day or two," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He's continuing to improve."
De Vries among Twins arms ready for rehabs
KANSAS CITY -- Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony gave updates on several of the club's injured starting pitchers on Tuesday.
Right-hander Cole De Vries, who was set to be a part of Minnesota's rotation to open the year but has battled through a right elbow injury, is set to rehab with Class A Fort Myers. He'll join the team on Wednesday and will start in a doubleheader on Sunday. De Vries posted a 4.11 ERA in 17 appearances with the Twins last year, and tossed three scoreless innings with the Gulf Coast League Twins on Monday.
Right-hander Alex Meyer, who was acquired in the trade that sent Denard Span to the Nationals, is set to make a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League. Meyer, ranked as the club's No. 3 overall prospect according to MLB.com, will pitch two innings on Friday. He's been out of action at Double-A New Britain since early June with a right shoulder strain.
Left-hander Pedro Hernandez is also set to join Meyer in the Gulf Coast League and will throw three innings on Friday. Hernandez, who has pitched in nine games for the Twins this year with a 5.54 ERA, has been on the disabled list with a strained left forearm at Triple-A Rochester since early July.
"These guys are now getting back into games so hopefully they're on track to get back with their clubs and get going again," Antony said.