Prospect Polanco gives Twins roster flexibility

Manager Molitor intends to play 22-year-old on left side of infield

Prospect Polanco gives Twins roster flexibility

MINNEAPOLIS -- Prospect Jorge Polanco officially joined the Twins before Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Brewers, as third baseman Trevor Plouffe was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, with a strained right intercostal muscle.

The 22-year-old Polanco, ranked as the club's No. 5 prospect and the No. 95 prospect in the game by MLBPipeline.com, was recalled from Triple-A Rochester, where he was hitting .286/.316/.543 with one homer and three triples in 10 games. Twins manager Paul Molitor said the move was made partly because he didn't want to have a short bench in advance of five straight Interleague games at National League parks starting on Wednesday.

"I'd love to have been able to wait a couple more days, but it's not conducive to do that," Molitor said. "But Jorge is here today, so Trev will be shut down here and will try to get this thing cleared up as fast as he can."

Polanco's run-scoring single

Polanco has played in nine career games with the Twins over the last two years, going 5-for-16 with a double, a triple and a stolen base. All of his appearances in the big leagues have come at shortstop.

Polanco has played 339 career games at shortstop in the Minors, compared to 145 games at second base, but he saw action exclusively at second with Rochester this season. He can handle third base but has played only 14 games there in his seven-year Minor League career. He has played 11 Minor League games in the outfield.

"Polanco, long-term, is probably best suited for second base or the outfield," Molitor said. "But he can handle the left side of the infield, so we'll try to get him in there."

Molitor expanded on his opinion, as the organization remains torn on whether Polanco can be a shortstop going forward. As highly regarded as he is, Polanco remains blocked by second baseman Brian Dozier and shortstop Eduardo Escobar.

"There is a lot of debate about how that's going to play out," Molitor said. "Some of it is the makeup of your team and how it might fit. Also, how he does offensively is a part of that. His avenue up here is not overly clear. We have a fairly good stable of young outfielders, a second baseman that's locked in, Escobar is establishing himself and Trevor. So I can't tell you where it will be, but I think with his skill set, he's better at second or the outfield than the left side of the infield."

"The biggest thing that I've taken is to play the game more calm, control what I can control and everything will go as smooth as I make it," Polanco said.

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.