In three starts with the Red Sox this season, right-hander Rubby De La Rosa has shown just how much raw talent he possesses.
It was never more evident than in his first start this season, in which he allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings against the Rays at Fenway Park. However, Red Sox manager John Farrell knows the 25-year-old is a work in progress.
"He'll show you very good command and location in the strike zone, and times where that's evaded him a little bit," Farrell said. "He's got plenty to work on."
Boston is hoping De La Rosa can have another dominant performance at Fenway Park in Monday's series opener against the Twins. Right-hander Kevin Correia will be on the hill for Minnesota.
In his last two starts on the road, both losses, De La Rosa has struggled with his fastball command. He's combined to allow eight runs on 16 hits in 11 1/3 innings.
"A lot of times, Rubby's going to go with what he's most comfortable with when he's behind in the count, which is the changeup," Farrell said. "Then teams start looking for that. And he throws upper-to-mid 90s. And even if they know it's coming, it's still a very difficult pitch to hit. And you want him to trust that and let that set the tone instead of relying so much on the changeup."
Meanwhile, Correia comes into Monday's contest pitching much better of late. He's gone 2-2 with a 3.90 ERA in his last five starts, three of which have been quality outings.
Correia faced the Red Sox back on May 14, in what was one of his worst starts this season. He lasted just four innings, allowing five runs on nine hits for the loss.
His last start against the Blue Jays was a huge contrast to that start a month ago. Correia tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just six hits for the win. He retired 13 in a row at one point.
"It was good because I think I threw the ball not much different than I've been throwing the ball," Correia said after the start. "I think some balls got hit to people and saved us some runs. And that's what you need to have good results. I just think I've been semi-unlucky."
Twins: Plouffe to DL
Minnesota placed third baseman Trevor Plouffe on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with inflammation between the ninth rib and the costal cartilage on his left side.
The Twins recalled infielder Pedro Florimon from Triple-A Rochester. However, Eduardo Escobar started at third in Sunday's game against the Tigers.
Plouffe sustained the injury while diving for a ball during Saturday's 12-9 loss to the Tigers. He tried to make a diving stop on a single by Ian Kinsler, but remained in the game after Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out to make sure he was all right.
Red Sox: Victorino, Middlebrooks to play in Minors on Monday
Right fielder Shane Victorino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks will start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday after playing a rehab game on Saturday with the Paw Sox.
Victorino, who is rehabbing a right hamstring injury, played five innings, but he is likely to play more than that in the next two days.
Middlebrooks went 1-for-3 as a designated hitter as he continues to recover from a broken right index finger. When he does come off the disabled list, he'll rejoin a crowded infield in Boston. That's why Farrell is considering using him in the outfield during this rehab stint.
"We may take a look at him in the outfield just to answer any questions of flexibility that we can before a decision on the roster is to be made," Farrell said. "If that gives us ability to find at-bats for Will if he were to come back here in that capacity, so be it."
• De La Rosa's only career appearance against the Twins came in a start on June 29, 2011, with the Dodgers at Target Field. He took the loss despite allowing one run on six hits over seven innings with four strikeouts.
• Last Tuesday was Correia's first start of the season in which he surrendered no runs. He pulled off the feat three times last year for the Twins (31 total starts).
• Twins infielder Eduardo Nunez was held out of Sunday's game against Detroit after aggravating his right hamstring in Saturday's loss. Gardenhire said it might be the type of injury that takes a week or two to recover from.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.