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TON -- The Twins sent third baseman Danny Valencia to the Red Sox in exchange for Minor League outfielder Jeremias Pineda on Sunday. Boston optioned Valencia, 27, to Triple-A Pawtucket. Pineda will join the Gulf Coast League Twins.
Valencia hit .198 in 34 games for the Twins this season, with two homers and 17 RBIs. After a slow start to the year, Minnesota sent him to Triple-A Rochester on May 9, where he hit .250 with seven homers and 37 RBIs in 69 games. Valencia was recalled on July 27 when Trevor Plouffe went on the 15-day disabled list.
"He struggled early, but last year he led our team with 72 RBIs, so the guy can play," said Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. "He's been productive for us. But he got off to a slow start and we sent him down to Rochester. He's worked very hard, to his credit. But it's a situation where it's a fresh start for Danny.
"He just wasn't taking good at-bats. I know he was frustrated. Sometimes those things snowball on you. So it wasn't a matter where we were down on him or anything else, it was just a situation where this might be a better opportunity for him."
Valencia gives the Red Sox some depth at third base. As for the Twins, Plouffe will become the club's primary third baseman when he returns from the DL later this week.
"I don't think we ever want to hand anybody a job, but Trevor has done a pretty good job over there," Antony said. "He's kind of established himself. He started off as a guy we were trying to find spots in the lineup for him. When we put him at third he kind of took off and did a nice job. So as much as anybody, he's probably earned a chance to stay there. You can read into it how you want. But we're pleased with what Trevor has done."
Pineda, 21, hit .421 with 22 RBIs in 36 games for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox this season. He's a switch-hitter and is capable of playing all three outfield positions.