With Valencia ailing, Plouffe debuts at third

With Valencia ailing, Plouffe debuts at third

ANAHEIM -- Danny Valencia was held out of Twins' starting lineup on Wednesday because of a stiff back, giving Trevor Plouffe his first Major League appearance at third base.

Valencia started feeling the stiffness during Tuesday's 4-0 loss to the Angels and was held out of action for precautionary reasons. Valencia actually wanted to stay in the lineup, as he's 3-for-12 with two homers off Angels ace and Tuesday starter Jered Weaver in his career.

"Danny's definitely available for the game if I need him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We gave him some Weaveritis medicine and he should be fine. But he did make it known that he has two home runs off him. Nah, he's got a stiff back. He was hurting last night during the game."

Plouffe, meanwhile, has played 76 games at third base in the Minors, and said he's comfortable playing there despite not having any Major League experience.

"I've played more games there than I have than the outfield," Plouffe said. "You've got to catch the ball and throw it to first base. I worked there yesterday and I've been getting ready for it. I feel like I'm prepared. I know the bunt plays. It's my job to play anywhere so I'm ready."

Plouffe said his experience as a shortstop makes the transition easier, as the throw across the diamond is about the same.

"The left side of the infield is similar," Plouffe said. "When you move over to the other side, it's a little different. So third base is kind of the same throw. It's just different assignments like with bunts and cutoffs. But it's my job to feel like I can play anywhere."