Notes: Casilla's number called
Backup infielder joins Twins as White, Cirillo land on DL
MINNEAPOLIS -- All spring, the Twins stressed that infielder Alexi Casilla needed consistent playing time, and that's why the club wasn't going to keep him on the 25-man roster.But when it came time to find bodies after the club placed Rondell White and Jeff Cirillo on the 15-day disabled list on Monday, it was Casilla who got the call to join the big-league club. "We're just looking for the best people to come back up here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's not like getting a lot of work down there with all the bad weather, so we're going to run him around up here for a couple days." Triple-A Rochester had played just two games before the moves were made, and Gardenhire stressed that the weather has kept Casilla from playing regularly anyway. So the plan now is to use Casilla as a backup middle infielder and mix him in to give some of the starters a rest. "We'll play him at second and short and just see what he can do for a couple days here while we try to get healthy," Gardenhire said.
Stiffness continues: The Twins were also unsure whether they would have right-hander Juan Rincon available for Monday night's series-opening game against the Yankees.Rincon threw in the bullpen on Monday afternoon, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he still looked very sore and stiff. Rincon has not pitched since last Tuesday, when he threw one-third of an inning against the Orioles. The right-hander woke up on Saturday morning in Chicago with a stiff neck, a problem that he thinks was caused by sleeping on it wrong. "He left his special pillow at home and now has a sore neck," Gardenhire said. "It sounds like [Corey] Koskie with the special pillows. But hopefully, he's back to his special pillow now." Change of venue: The Twins experienced their fair share of cold weather this weekend in Chicago, but Gardenhire was happy that his club wasn't having the same problems as the Indians. The Indians-Angels series for this week was moved to Milwaukee due to lingering snow conditions in Cleveland and the fact that the field has become unplayable. Travel issues eliminated Anaheim as a possibility. Despite the problems that have been going on around the league in regard to cancelations due to weather, Gardenhire wasn't willing to criticize the current scheduling process. He admitted that it would be different if his team were in the same situation, but he wasn't about to complain about a rival going through that type of situation. "They're in our division, so they can play as many doubleheaders as they want," Gardenhire said. Return still on hold: One person not even in consideration for the open outfield spot due to White's injury was Lew Ford. Ford underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus on March 12 and has remained in Fort Myers, Fla., to complete his rehab. The recovery time was estimated to be four to six weeks, but with the date quickly approaching, Ford remains far from a return. "He's jogging now, so he's making progress, but he's not ready for a game yet," Ryan said. The plan for Ford is to play in some extended Spring Training games before being sent on a rehab assignment. But Ryan said that the team does not even have a timetable yet on when that might occur. Not so lucky: Michael Cuddyer claims not to be superstitious, but even he admits that after a rough start to the year, he had to mix things up a bit. Cuddyer had originally selected "Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground as his plate song for this season. But after striking out in five of his first seven at-bats, Cuddyer decided to switch things up by picking out two new songs to rotate in the collection, one by Snoop Dogg and the other by Young Buck. It appeared to be a good decision, as heading into Monday's game, Cuddyer was hitting .412, sixth highest in the American League. "It's not superstitious, it's just smart," Cuddyer said with a laugh. Twins tidbits: A new logo to honor Herb Carneal adorned the Twins' uniforms on Monday. A picture of a microphone with "Herb" encased in a circle is stitched on the right sleeve. ... The schedule for this weekend's award presentations has changed slightly. Due to a change in the pitching rotation, Justin Morneau will be honored with the AL MVP Award on Friday, while Johan Santana will be presented his AL Cy Young Award on Saturday. ... Taking White's place in left field on Monday was Jason Kubel. It marked the first action that Kubel has seen in the field so far this season. ... Mike Redmond was named the designated hitter for the second straight game on Monday. Gardenhire said that he wanted to give Redmond more at-bats while keeping Jason Tyner on the bench for a bit of speed, if necessary. Coming up: The Twins will host the Yankees for the second game of their three-game set on Tuesday night in a 7:10 CT start. Right-hander Boof Bonser (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will get the start for Minnesota against Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte (0-0, 3.60 ERA).
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.