Veteran infielder Trevor Plouffe, who’d been with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate, asked for and was granted his release by the organization, the team told reporters (Twitter link via MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan).
Plouffe, 31, opened the Triple-A season by going 3-for-11 with a homer, a double and six walks in 17 plate appearances — good for a .273/.529/.636 slash in that tiny four-game sample. The longtime Twins third baseman struggled in Spring Training with the Rangers and agreed to head to their Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock to open the season, though clearly his stay there will be short-lived.
A former first-round pick of the Twins (20th overall, 2004), Plouffe was a bit of a late bloomer but eventually rose to the Majors and claimed Minnesota’s starting third base job as a 26-year-old back in 2012. From 2012-16, Plouffe hit .250/.311/.423 and averaged 17 homers and 124 games played per season with the Twins. While his glovework at the hot corner was initially questionable, he eventually posted solid UZR and DRS marks with the Twins in 2014-15. His 2016 season — Plouffe’s last as a Twin — was marred by a series of intercostal and oblique injuries that limited him to 84 games.
Plouffe split the 2017 season between the A’s and Rays, struggling at each stop and hitting just .198/.272/.318 in a combined 313 plate appearances. Given that showing and his injury-plagued 2016 season, it seems likely that Plouffe will need to find another minor league opportunity elsewhere — perhaps one with a clearer path to the Majors than he had in Texas, where Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo are locked in at the infield corners. At his best, Plouffe has been a thorn in the side of left-handed pitching (.263/.346/.469 during that ’12-’16 stretch) who is capable of handing either corner infield slot.