Escobar collects 2 hits after coming off DL

Escobar collects 2 hits after coming off DL

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins activated shortstop Eduardo Escobar from the 15-day disabled list before Monday's 10-4 loss to the Royals, and optioned infielder Jorge Polanco to Triple-A Rochester.

Escobar, who was on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain, played in three rehab games with Class A Advanced Fort Myers, going 4-for-11 with a double, a triple and a walk. Escobar returned to the lineup at shortstop on Monday, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Eduardo Nunez got the start at second base over Brian Dozier, but Nunez went 0-for-5.

"I'm very happy," Escobar said through a translator before the game. "I hope I can bring something to this team and help them feel better. Bring a funny side to the team and hopefully get out of this hole that we're in."

Escobar was hitting .237/.275/.289 with five doubles in 27 games before the injury, while Nunez, who served as shortstop in Escobar's absence, has been the club's hottest hitter.

So manager Paul Molitor said he's going to try to find as much playing time for Nunez as possible, which means he could rotate at shortstop with Escobar and see occasional time at second if Dozier continues to struggle.

"He's deserving of somewhat consistent at-bats here with the way he's played," Molitor said. "He's been one our steadiest players here. So the fact we have other people involved in the middle infield, I'm going to have to play with that based on matchups and how things are going."

Polanco hit .231/.344/.463 with a homer, three doubles and four RBIs in 13 games, but only six starts. Polanco, ranked as the No. 92 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, hasn't had a chance for consistent playing time in the Majors, but Molitor said Polanco was optioned so he can play every day at Triple-A.

"I'm sure he's a little frustrated," Molitor said. "There has not been a lot of opportunities when he's been up here. We all like what he's done and he's 22 years old. I'm sure he's probably thinking we're not doing well so give me a shot, and I don't blame him for that, but there are other factors we have to consider."

Worth noting
• Right-hander Kyle Gibson, on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder strain, made his first rehab start with Fort Myers on Sunday night. Gibson tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings, scattering three hits and a walk. He threw 56 pitches (41 strikes) and will need one or two more rehab starts before being activated.

• The Twins signed lefty reliever Sean Burnett to a Minor League deal. Burnett, 33, has eight years of Major League experience with a career 3.53 ERA, but he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2014, and hasn't pitched a full year in the Majors since '12. Burnett pitched for both the Dodgers' and Braves' Triple-A teams this season, posting a combined 1.38 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 13 innings. He'll head to Triple-A Rochester.

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.