MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins were a little thin in regards to the infield for Friday night's series opener, as infielder Alexi Casilla had an MRI done on his sore right elbow.Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Casilla has had a little bit of a sore arm for close to a week. While Casilla had been playing through it, the soreness was not going away, but rather getting worse. "He came in today and it was really sore, so we're doing an MRI to check it out and see what's in there," Gardenhire said. "So we're thin to say the least. Casilla's MRI revealed some slight irritation, according to Gardenhire, and the skipper said doctors told him that Casilla should be available for Saturday's contest.
Plouffe gets first big league start
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Trevor Plouffe during Spring Training that he would be seeing the 23-year-old shortstop in the big leagues soon.That day came Friday. In the Interleague series opener against the Brewers, Plouffe started at shortstop for the Twins after spending the first part of the season playing for Triple-A Rochester. "I would be lying if I said I wasn't wanting to get up here," Plouffe said. "But at the same time, you've got to let these things handle themselves. My outlook was just to go perform in Rochester. I'm definitely happy to be here." Plouffe was batting .303 with 21 RBIs for Rochester this season. Gardenhire said Plouffe has been consistent since Spring Training on both sides of the ball, something he has struggled with in the past. In 2009, the shortstop committed 26 fielding errors for the Red Wings. The shortstop credited his improvement to gaining experience and confidence in himself since being drafted out of high school in 2004. "It's been good," Plouffe said. "Some of those previous seasons, I was looking at the numbers too much. This season I just tried to go out there and get my work in, I knew I was ready each game and those things did take care of themselves." Plouffe called his dad first to tell him the good news, followed by his mother and brother. Before the game he said he wasn't nervous, but instead excited, to be thrown right into the starting lineup. "This is a good day," Gardenhire said. "It's always fun to see a guy get his first start in the big leagues. Plouffe has been playing good and he deserves it."
Plouffe singled in his first Major League at-bat and tallied his first RBI in the first inning on Friday.
Hardy eager to get back on diamond
MINNEAPOLIS -- As J.J. Hardy's former team makes a visit to Minneapolis for a three-game series against the Twins, the shortstop will be watching from the dugout.Hardy, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a deep bone bruise in his left wrist, was eligible to return to the lineup, but still feels pain while batting, so he will most likely miss the entire series agains the Brewers. "It would be nice to go out there and play against my old teammates, but at this rate it'd be fun to go out there and play against anybody," Hardy said. "I've been out for 14 or 15 games now, and I'm getting pretty antsy." Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins miss having Hardy on the field because the defense was at its prime just before he got put on the DL. Hardy said he feels good doing most things -- besides batting. He was taking swings at 90 percent Friday in batting practice, but said he would need to take a one minute break in between swings to let the pain pass. For now, Hardy is hoping to return to the lineup for the start of the Yankees series on Tuesday. He said he is feeling optimistic for that, as his wrist feels a little better each day. "It's taking a lot longer for me than expected," Hardy said. "There's really nothing I can do. The more I work, the worse it gets. I just need to let the bone bruise heal. It's real hard for me not to do much." If Hardy is not ready to play on Tuesday and his layoff has to extend even longer, Gardenhire said it's possible that the club could send him out on a Minor League rehab assignment to get at-bats and face live pitching.
Right-hander Clay Condrey (strained right elbow) threw a 50-pitch bullpen session on Friday and reported feeling fine, according to manager Ron Gardenhire. Condrey could be sent to Fort Myers, Fla., as soon as this weekend to begin facing hitters. ... Right-hander Pat Neshek (sore hand) played catch for about 10 minutes and reported feeling good afterward. Neshek will likely throw one more time before a decision is made about when he will head to Florida to start facing hitters. ... The Twins' starting pitchers posted a 6.52 ERA during the club's recent 2-5 road trip against the American League East.
Jocelyn Syrstad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.