Vargas fourth Twin to homer from both sides

Slugger impressive since callup, but playing time tough to come by

Vargas fourth Twin to homer from both sides

MINNEAPOLIS -- In the opener of a day-night doubleheader that saw rookie right-hander Jose Berrios struggle and shortstop Eduardo Escobar pitch in the ninth inning, Kennys Vargas made history in the Twins' 15-6 defeat to the Astros on Thursday, becoming the fourth player in franchise history to homer from both sides of the plate.

Vargas, starting at first base for the first time since Sunday, connected on a solo shot off right-hander Doug Fister in the second while batting left-handed before turning it around and crushing a two-run homer off lefty reliever Tony Sipp in the eighth.

Both homers were hit hard, as his first left the bat at 98 mph and went a projected 375 feet, while his second had an exit velocity of 102 mph and traveled 419 feet, per Statcast™. He joins Roy Smalley, Chili Davis and Ryan Doumit as the only Twins players to homer from both sides in a game.

"I felt great," Vargas said through translator Carlos Font. "I've just been focused at the plate and trying to get the ball high in the air. I've been getting a lot of good contact. It's good because I can show everybody that I'm good from both sides of the plate."

Vargas, 26, is making a strong case for more playing time, but the Twins have a crowded corner infield with Joe Mauer entrenched at first base, while Trevor Plouffe, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco are sharing time at third base.

"There are a few guys lined up to get those at-bats," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Kennys, being a switch-hitter, is a nice advantage to have. He's swung particularly well from the right side. It hasn't been a lot of at-bats, but he's showed power. The left-handed side, he's struggled a little bit, but got a cutter his first at-bat. He's just a threat."

Vargas, though, has impressed since getting called up July 4, hitting .289/.409/.645 with six homers, nine doubles and 13 RBIs in 22 games. But he hasn't been getting consistent playing time due to Minnesota's roster, and admitted it can be tough to make that adjustment.

"It's hard for me," Vargas said. "I'm used to playing every day. I've tried to get used to it. So I'm working on it."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for 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.