Twins Talk for June 26 26 Jun 15

Stories and Photos by Gordy Jones

Quite an Endeavor by Trevor

Trevor Plouffe has developed into a solid major league third baseman. Trevor was drafted in 2004 after an All-American high school career, chosen in the first round (20th overall) by the Twins as a shortstop. Through the years as he learned his craft in the minors, he was occasionally called up to the Twins when someone was injured. But he would bounce around, playing every position — from short to third, second, first, and even a stint in the outfield.

In 2012 the Twins’ regular third baseman, Danny Valencia, was demoted to the minors, and Trevor got the call to become the everyday third baseman. Still, he continued to occasionally be platooned to other positions. Going into spring training of 2013, it was announced that Trevor’s everyday job was to be at third base. I remember talking to him at Fort Myers that year, and he told me how relieved he was to have a starting, permanent position — a position where he could show up at the ballpark every day, already knowing his role; a position he could practice at, knowing that at game time, playing third base would be his job.

He has worked diligently since then. I’ve seen him in Florida and at Target Field working hard, often taking extra fielding practice, while asking questions and listening to his coaches. Learning a new position in the majors with balls flying at you at more than 100 miles per hour, there are bound to be some growing pains. But Trevor worked hard, was patient, and has blossomed into a fine third baseman.

Although he’ll slump once in a while, he has been pretty consistent at the plate, too — often hitting for power. He is one of those nice kids whom I have had the privilege to watch grow, and to get to know as a person. It makes me happy to see him succeed. He does a lot of volunteer work in the community, too, with his lovely wife Olivia by his side.

Trevor and I were recently talking about the 2015 season, so far. He said, “We’re having a lot more fun. We are very confident; we show up at the park expecting to win every day.” I asked him what time he shows up at the park and what his routine is. “I get here at 1 p.m., and maybe first I’ll have a bite to eat. Then I’ll start to get myself loose. Next I’ll come out here (pointing toward third) with Gene (Glynn) and take some ground balls on the field. Then I’ll do some cage work (batting) with Bruno (Tom Brunansky), then relax for a little bit and get ready for B.P. (batting practice). After B.P. I have a little down-time before the game, then it’s gear up and get ready to play the game.”

I told Trevor that I was happy for his success, and asked him to explain it. He said, “I think it’s a little bit maturity, and I have more experience at third base. I have great coaches who help me out, and coaches who have helped me along the way. They have exercised some patience with me at third, and continue to work with me now. I’m taking the next steps to become the guy they want over there (at third).”

I asked Trevor about the victory smoke and strobe dance celebrations that Torii Hunter installed in the clubhouse. “Anytime you win a game, it’s a lot of fun. But we’ve added a little extra to it this year. It makes us want to go out there and compete. We want to get back there and have a little fun after the game — and I’m a damn good dancer!” He was laughing as he said that.

I have heard that Trevor is a pretty good guitarist. I asked him how that was going, and he chuckled and said, “With everything else going on, it’s probably gone backward. I haven’t had time to play a lot. But I can still pick it up and play some… I like to play my own stuff and jam around. If I’m going to cover anybody, I’ll play some Led Zeppelin songs here and there. But usually I just pick it up, and whatever comes to mind, I’ll play.”

He Drew a Job in K.C.

When the Twins played Kansas City a few weeks back, I had the chance to talk with former Twin Drew Butera. He is another great kid whom I had the chance to know and watch. While playing for the Twins, Drew was the first to volunteer to make appearances for good causes, and was gracious to all of the fans.

 Drew followed in the footsteps of his dad, another former Twin catcher, Sal Butera. Drew said his dad was well, and had been in town to see him play. He talked about coming to Target Field in a Kansas City uniform. “It’s cool. I have some good memories here, and good friends – it’s good to see all of them. But life in Kansas City is very nice, too. It’s a nice town with a lot of good people who are very loyal and passionate fans, and my teammates are great.”

Before I left, he wanted to make sure I added this to my story. “I want to thank Twins fans for all their support over the years, and I really enjoyed my time here.”