What to do with Nunez when Escobar returns?

Molitor says it's a good question to have with Nunez playing so well

May 18th, 2016

DETROIT -- Twins manager Paul Molitor will have an issue to address soon, but it's a good problem to have.

What do you do with infielder Eduardo Nunez when shortstop Eduardo Escobar returns from the disabled list?

Escobar (strained groin) has gone down to Florida for extended spring training and could return early next week. Nunez, meanwhile, has hit .340 with an .860 OPS and seven stolen bases after a 2-for-4 performance in Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Tigers. He's played almost exclusively at shortstop this month.

"Nunez has played well," Molitor said. "He deserves a chance to keep getting playing time. Just figure out how to balance that out."

Escobar was hitting .237 in 27 games this year before going down with the groin injury.

The 28-year-old Nunez is in his third season with the Twins. He hit .250 in 2014 and .282 last year, playing 72 games in each season. Molitor said he's not surprised Nunez has improved with consistent playing time. When Escobar returns, Molitor will have to find some spots for Nunez.

"I've been around him for a while. He's a talented kid," Molitor said. "He's been kind of delegated to a utility role most of his career. With our injuries and his production, he's getting a chance to play more regularly. A combination of being able to spray the ball around, hit for occasional power, he can run, he's disruptive on the bases, he's become a much better defender.

"I have a lot of confidence, when guys go down, to give him an opportunity. We'll face a question when we get everyone back healthy, but that's a good question to face."