Twins option Vargas; Nunez to return Tuesday

Twins option Vargas; Nunez to return Tuesday

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins optioned designated hitter Kennys Vargas to Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, as they're set to activate utility man Eduardo Nunez from the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Pirates.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise, as Vargas had been hitting well this month, batting .375/.405/.575 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in 11 games in May. But the 24-year-old has struggled on the year, hitting. 250/.297/.365 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 28 games.

"He needs to go down there and work on his game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Trying to take the pressure off him. It's not unusual for a guy to have to do that at some juncture. So it's best for him in the short-term."

Molitor said Vargas is a hard worker and listens to the coaching staff, but that they're looking for him to find some confidence at the plate. He fared much better last year, when he hit .274/.316/.456 with nine homers and 38 RBIs in 53 games as a rookie.

"I think more than mechanics right now, it's more about what's in his head when he gets into the batter's box," Molitor said. "You have a guy who can be a valuable part of the middle of your lineup and can be a run producer, but through 100 at-bats it really hasn't happened for him so I think the best thing for him is to go down there and try to find a groove and relax a little bit and hopefully play better."

Nunez, meanwhile, took batting practice on the field without any issues on Saturday, and the Twins determined he was healthy enough to return without a rehab assignment. Nunez, who was on the DL retroactive to April 30, said before Sunday's game that his oblique felt 100 percent.

"Everything feels good," Nunez said. "Today is a day off after two days of swinging. But the good thing is I'm not sore today. I feel normal."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.