MINNEAPOLIS -- Danny Valencia is back with the Twins after what he said was a humbling two-plus months in Triple-A.
Recalled from Rochester after Trevor Plouffe was placed on the disabled list Friday, Valencia started at third base and hit seventh for Minnesota against Cleveland on Saturday.
He was optioned to Rochester on May 9 after struggling in 27 games with the Twins, hitting .190 with one home run and 11 RBIs. The 27-year-old hit .250 with seven homers and a team-leading 37 RBIs in 69 games with the Red Wings since.
"You never want to be sent down to the Minor Leagues," Valencia said. "Obviously you realize how nice it is up here and what you strive for and what you work for. So it's nice to be back."
Plouffe seized the opening after Valencia was sent down, recording a .920 OPS with 18 homers in 57 games since. Now, Plouffe's bruised right thumb has created another chance for Valencia.
"I don't put too much expectations on anything," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll see how he does out there. Go swing the bat. I told him to relax and have fun. Just like you did before -- just go play.
Valencia said he and Plouffe are close friends, and he isn't concerned with any uncertainty regarding his role after Plouffe's surge.
"It is what it is," Valencia said. "That's how it is in this game. He stepped in and he's done a great job. We're friends. We're close. We talk ... we both want each other to do well, so I'm happy."