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Scuffling at plate, Twins' Park gets a breather

Santana may begin rehab assignment Monday; Sano hitting off tee, jogging on field
June 12, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- After striking out in eight of his past 11 at-bats, Byung Ho Park was held out of the starting lineup against the Red Sox in Sunday's 7-4 Twins victory, as manager Paul Molitor said he wanted to give Park a mental break to clear his head.Park, who was

MINNEAPOLIS -- After striking out in eight of his past 11 at-bats, Byung Ho Park was held out of the starting lineup against the Red Sox in Sunday's 7-4 Twins victory, as manager Paul Molitor said he wanted to give Park a mental break to clear his head.
Park, who was hitting .212/.298/.451 entering Sunday, was tied for the team lead with 11 homers, but also had struck out 66 times, second-most on the team behind Miguel Sano's 71. Park has been in a rough stretch, as he's hitting .147 with two homers, five RBIs and 28 strikeouts over his past 21 games.
"We talk a lot about how the game can beat you up a little bit," Molitor said. "The strikeouts have been more frequent as of late. You saw it a couple times where he hit the ball good before the last couple days. I think he's just battling and trying to make adjustments day to day. So we'll give him a day and see how we want to go forward."
Park had also made back-to-back starts at first base with Joe Mauer starting at designated hitter. But Molitor said it wasn't done in an effort to get Park going offensively, as it was more to give Mauer a break from playing the field.
"It's looking at the stretch of games and trying to keep Joe in there every day for the most part," Molitor said. "I think the best way to get the most at-bats out of Joe is to DH him whenever I can. So that wasn't the factor. But I do think Park enjoys playing defense and has done OK over there for the most part."
Worth noting
• Center fielder Danny Santana, on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain since May 30, could start a rehab assignment as soon as Monday, Molitor said. Santana has been running and hitting without any issues.
• Sano, on the DL since May 31, remains behind Santana in his recovery from his left hamstring strain, but has progressed to hitting off a tee and jogging on the field.
• Molitor said he's been in contact with suspended pitching coach Neil Allen on a regular basis, and said he's doing well and they expect him to return at some point this season. Allen, a recovering alcoholic, was arrested May 27 for suspicion of drunken driving.
"He looks good," Molitor said. "He's doing what he needs to do. We hope to see him back."
• Right-hander Kyle Gibson, who is slated to start Thursday against the Yankees, will not go on Minnesota's three-game road trip to Anaheim because there is no getaway day Wednesday, and the Twins have to take a redeye flight into Minneapolis after Wednesday night's game.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, **Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter [@RhettBollinger](https://twitter.com/RhettBollinger)** and listen to his podcast.