Molitor pleased with quality of Vargas' at-bats

Molitor pleased with quality of Vargas' at-bats

DETROIT -- First baseman Kennys Vargas made his season debut for the Twins back on July 4 after spending the first part of the season at Triple-A Rochester. Vargas returned by hitting .471 with three home runs and four RBIs over six games leading into the All-Star break.

He had lost some of that power coming out of the break, entering Wednesday's series finale in Detroit having gone 3-for-15 in four games since, but that's nothing Twins manager Paul Molitor didn't expect.

"But I think the quality at-bats have still been pretty good," Molitor said. "He's chasing a little bit, and maybe taking some pitches early in the count where I want him to be a little more aggressive."

Vargas' recent surge draws comparisons to when he made his debut in August 2014 and hit at a .274 clip with nine homers and 38 RBIs over the last two months of the season. Molitor is hesitant to make the comparison, however, because pitchers are seeing him for the second and third times and starting to make adjustments.

"He's still maturing," Molitor said of the switch-hitting 25-year-old. "He's still a young guy in the game, in terms of at-bats. He's still kind of learning what works best for him, from the left side, from the right side, with who he's facing each and every day."

Sometimes all it can take for a young player to get on a roll is confidence, something Molitor thinks Vargas has plenty of.

"I think he's a lot more confident in there right now, as far as not having to cheat as much to get the pitches," Molitor said. "I think that's given him a little more of a look and better pitches to swing at."

Vargas was brought up to Minnesota when Trevor Plouffe (broken rib) went on the DL in early July. Vargas was hitting .235 at Rochester, and his .788 OPS was his lowest mark in the Minors since reaching the Class A level in the Twins' organization in 2012.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Twins on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.