FORT MYERS — You can’t fault Trevor Plouffe for his enthusiasm.
With shortstops Juan Castro and Nick Punto playing on one of the minor league fields, the Minnesota Twins prospect was added to the big-league roster for Friday afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the New York Yankees.
And when Twins bench coach Steve Liddle told him to get loosened up, Plouffe listened.
The Twins took the field in the top of the seventh and Plouffe went sprinting out between second and third. There was only one problem: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t want him in the lineup yet.
“You just never know what might happen in this game,” Gardenhire joked after the game. “You turn your back for one second and you have a whole new team out there.”
Gardenhire wanted starting shortstop Jason Bartlett to get a third at-bat. But when Bartlett saw the 19-year-old Plouffe standing on his spot on the diamond, Bartlett figured his day was done.
Bartlett went running down the line to run sprints in the outfield.
“I didn’t think anything of it until I came back and all the coaches were like, ‘Hey, you’re supposed to be in there.’” Bartlett said. “I was like, ‘What?’”
Plouffe, the Twins’ 2004 first-round draft pick, ended up with Bartlett’s at-bat in the seventh, popping out to end the inning.
“You can do whatever you want when you’re a first-rounder, I guess,” Bartlett joked.
The rest of the game, won 3-1 by the Twins on RBI singles in the eighth inning by Jason Kubel and Justin Tyner, was dominated by pitching.
With the exception of Minnesota first baseman Terry Tiffee’s solo home run in the fourth, Yankees ace Randy Johnson shut down the Minnesota offense. Johnson finished with six strikeouts in 6Ð innings, limiting the Twins to five hits while walking none. Johnson threw 88 pitches — 64 for strikes.
Twins right-hander Carlos Silva had an equally strong outing — he allowed three hits and one run in four innings — though he didn’t face a typical Yankee lineup.
There was no Alex Rodriguez in the lineup for the Yankees, who played a night game Thursday night in Tampa.
There was no Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield or Johnny Damon. Bernie Williams and Robinson Cano were the only regulars in the lineup.
“The lineup doesn’t matter because I was trying to get my command back,” Silva said. “I just want to hit my spots.”
But Silva wasn’t focusing on matchups with individual hitters.
The lack of Yankee star power didn’t sit well with some fans.
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Autograph seekers staked out their positions next to the visitors’ dugout as soon as the gates opened.
Tim Wood of Cape Coral spent two hours on-line and on the phone went individual-game tickets went on sale, then arrived at the ballpark six hours before game time.
He would have to get A-Rod or Hideki Matsui another day.
“The one day that you take off of work, and they don’t bring nobody,” Wood said.
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Staff writer Andy Kent contributed to this report.