Found February 05, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS Most big league baseball players take extended time off once their season is over before resuming workouts. After a 162-game schedule, they want the chance to decompress, to relax.Not Trevor Plouffe.The Minnesota Twins' season ended Sept. 28 with a 1-0 win over Kansas City. Less than three weeks later, Plouffe was back to work in his home state of California, working out at the baseball facilities at Pepperdine University in Malibu. The eager Plouffe is looking to put the 2011 season both his and his team's in the rearview mirror."I was just anxious to get out there, especially after last season," Plouffe said. "I think all of us have a little chip on our shoulder. We wanted to go get as much work in as we could. We don't want that to happen again."While Minnesota finished with the second-most losses (99) in franchise history, the 25-year-old Plouffe also had his own issues on the field. He bounced between Triple-A Rochester and the majors in 2011, playing 81 games for the Twins. Most of those games came at shortstop or second base, where Plouffe struggled defensively.In 25 games at shortstop, Plouffe committed 11 errors. He also committed one error at second. Often times, Plouffe had trouble accurately throwing across the diamond from shortstop to first base. On numerous occasions, the ball sailed high or wide of the first baseman."I think defensively I was pretty bad," Plouffe said of his 2011 season. "I had a tough time finding a good arm slot. My arm wasn't feeling too good, and that led to some errors. I wasn't happy about it. I think I'm a much better defender than that. Hopefully I get to prove that."Because of his struggles in the field, Plouffe was sent back down to Rochester in early June. When he came back to rejoin the Twins in mid-July, Plouffe played 13 games in the outfield including 11 starts. That's likely where he'll spend most of his time in 2012, as Minnesota has said it plans to shift Plouffe from the infield to the outfield. Plouffe will be part of a platoon in left field along with Ben Revere, while Denard Span holds down the starting spot in center field and offseason acquisition Josh Willingham starts in right.That versatility is exactly what Twins manager Ron Gardenhire likes to see, and Plouffe is well aware of that fact."The Twins as an organization like guys that are versatile," Plouffe said. "In that regard, I think my season went great. I played outfield for the first time, moved around."Plouffe made just two starts in left field last season and played there in only three total games. He didn't played much outfield at the minor league level either just seven total games in eight minor league seasons, all coming in 2011 during his last demotion to Rochester.But Plouffe handled the outfield just fine at the big league level, converting on all 20 chances he had in the field."I feel comfortable out there. I feel a lot more comfortable than I thought I was going to feel, which is nice," Plouffe said. "I'm going to roll with that, work hard in spring training. (First base coach) Jerry White can help me out and we'll get it rolling from there."Offensively, Plouffe finished the season batting just .238 with eight homers and 31 RBIs. He showed he can provide some pop from the right side of the plate. What he didn't show, however, was that he could do it consistently.At times, it seemed as if Plouffe's defensive struggles carried over into his at-bats. Now with parts of two seasons with the Twins and 327 major league at-bats under his belt, Plouffe feels he knows what to expect in 2012. He stressed the importance of preparation and watching film on opposing pitchers. Being able to make adjustments is key, he said.So, too, is staying confident. Plouffe had to find that out the hard way."When you're starting to struggle, keep that confidence," Plouffe said. "Sometimes, especially at this level, the way we were going last year it was easy to lose that confidence. It's something that me and the team as a whole need to keep up this year."
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