Danny Valencia 'not happy' in minors, friend Chris Perez says

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was a year ago this month that Danny Valencia handed his good friend, Chris Perez, his second blown save of the 2011 season, lacing a bases-loaded single to score two runs in the ninth inning of a 2-1 walkoff victory over Cleveland at Target Field.

Perez, a former high school rival and University of Miami teammate, spent that night at Valencia's place as the two celebrated their major leagues trajectories. A year later, however, Perez is making his second All-Star Game appearance and Valencia is battling to get back to the major leagues, 55 games into a tuneup at Class AAA Rochester.

"It seems like he's in a good place," said Perez, who has converted 24 of 26 save opportunities for the Indians this season. "He's not happy, obviously. He's frustrated. But he's doing his work down there; he just needs an opportunity again.

"Unfortunately, what's-his-name's crushing the ball."

What's-his-name, of course, is Trevor Plouffe, who has taken hold of Valencia's old job. Since Valencia was optioned to Rochester in May, Plouffe is batting .280 with 18 home runs, nine doubles and 34 RBIs. And in a weekend series at Texas, he made half a dozen terrific plays at third, one of five positions he has played this season. In his past 29 games, though, Plouffe has been the team's third baseman.

Valencia hit .311 in 81 games as a rookie and led the team with 72 RBIs in his first full season in 2011, but he was hitting .190 with one homer and 11 RBIs when he was sent down.

With the Red Wings, he is batting .244 with seven homers, 11 doubles and 31 RBIs, and he drove in the winning run in a 1-0, eight-inning victory over Lehigh Valley in Sunday's doubleheader opener. If there is a glaring weakness in his numbers, it's in the walks -- just 11 in 224 plate appearances. His on-base percentage is only .281.

Perez said he talks to Valencia once a month and texts him frequently.

"His head seems to be in a good spot," Perez said.

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus