Plouffe dedicates slam to late grandfather

Twins third baseman will miss Saturday's game to attend funeral

Plouffe dedicates slam to late grandfather

MINNEAPOLIS -- In a touching moment in his postgame interview on the field with Fox Sports North after Sunday's 13-3 win over the White Sox, Trevor Plouffe said the grand slam he hit was in honor of his grandfather, Tom, who passed away Saturday night.

It was the first grand slam of Plouffe's career, and he went 3-for-5 with five RBIs in his first game since finding out about his grandfather's death. Plouffe also tweeted about his grandfather after the game.

Plouffe, 28, said he plans to attend the funeral in Southern California on Saturday, which would force him to miss Minnesota's game against the Indians in Cleveland. But he said he plans to just miss the one game on Saturday.

Plouffe has been impressive early this season, hitting .278/.356/.478 with a team-leading five homers, three doubles and 15 RBIs in 24 games. He's also been making strides defensively, as he's made just one error and ranks highly among his peers according to advanced statistics such as Defensive Runs Saved. He ranks fifth among all third basemen with two Defensive Runs Saved.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he's also seen Plouffe emerge as a clubhouse leader in his sixth Major League season.

"He puts the work in," Molitor said. "It's been a big step up for him this year on both sides of the ball. He's not satisfied. He likes to challenge himself to be a guy for this team day in and day out. And he's certainly showing more leadership in the clubhouse."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.