Plouffe activated off DL, Santana soon to follow

Plouffe activated off DL, Santana soon to follow

HOUSTON -- Third baseman Trevor Plouffe and right-hander Ervin Santana joined the Twins on their road trip to Houston on Monday. Plouffe was activated from the disabled list after Monday's 6-2 win over the Astros, and Santana is tentatively planned to start on Saturday in Chicago against the White Sox.

Plouffe, who hit .302/.333/.535 with two homers and six RBIs in 12 games before being placed on the DL with a strained right intercostal on April 18, finished a two-game rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Fort Myers on Sunday, going 1-for-8. Infielder Jorge Polanco was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for him on the roster.

"Everything went smooth," manager Paul Molitor said. "I didn't really ask for too many details. But he looked fine in the field, and his at-bats looked like he wasn't protecting or holding back anything."

Santana, meanwhile, is on the DL retroactive to April 20 with a strained lower back. He threw a bullpen session without any issues on Sunday and is scheduled to throw a two-inning simulated game on Tuesday. Santana, Minnesota's Opening Day starter, was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 20 innings before sustaining the injury.

"It won't be particularly long, but we want to get him between 30 and 40 pitches," Molitor said. "If everything goes well, we'll get him back in there Saturday."

Worth noting

• Right-hander Kyle Gibson, on the DL retroactive to April 23 with a strained right shoulder, played catch on Monday as he continues to rehab his injury. There's still no target date for his return, but the Twins are encouraged by his progress. He could throw a bullpen session as soon as this week.

• Closer Glen Perkins, out since April 11 with a strained left shoulder, could play catch at some point later this week, Molitor said, but Perkins is recovering slowly and has yet to throw since being placed on the DL.

• Right-hander Alex Meyer, who is set to make his first career Major League start against the Astros on Tuesday, will not have any pitch-count restrictions. It will be Meyer's first start since April 20, with Triple-A Rochester, as he was called up as a long reliever, only to replace lefty Tommy Milone in the rotation. Meyer threw 29 pitches in a relief outing on Friday; Molitor said he's stretched out enough to start without any limitations.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. 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.