Plouffe nears return to Grapefruit League action

Plouffe nears return to Grapefruit League action

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Third baseman Trevor Plouffe fared well in Minor League games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and if all goes well on Thursday, he could return to Grapefruit League play on Friday against the Yankees.

Plouffe, who has been out since March 8 with a strained right calf, played third base on Wednesday after serving as designated hitter on Tuesday.

"He did great down there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He got one hit off the wall. He's running fine with no problems. He'll do it again tomorrow in an early game here."

It's the second time this spring that Plouffe has been slowed by a strained right calf, as he also missed the first three Grapefruit League games with the same injury. But Gardenhire said Plouffe is fully recovered this time and that it won't be an issue heading into the regular season.

"He didn't feel it," Gardenhire said. "It's not sore at all. So that's a good thing."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for 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.