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08/16/08 5:44 PM ET
Injured Casilla ahead of schedule
Infielder takes batting practice, hopes to join team on road trip
By Thor Nystrom / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- A day after participating in full fielding drills, injured second baseman Alexi Casilla took batting practice prior to Saturday's game against Seattle. This put Casilla two days ahead of schedule -- he was previously not expected to take batting practice until Monday. Casilla only hit from the right side. He said that he can bat 100 percent from the right side, but is closer to 85 percent when hitting left-handed. He said when he returns he would like to continue switch hitting, regardless of the pain while hitting left-handed. "My left hand is on the top of my right hand [when batting left-handed]," Casilla said. "When I swing, it's pulling my thumb, that's why it hurts." The second baseman, on the 15-day disabled list since July 29 with a torn ligament in his right thumb, took ground balls and threw prior to Friday's game. Casilla said he experienced no pain during the drills. On Saturday, Casilla said the pain in his thumb continues to dissipate. An exact plan has not been hatched, but it is possible that Casilla will go on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment at the beginning of next week. "I'd like to see him maybe play a couple of ballgames somewhere and see how he gets through them and maybe join us on the next trip -- that's kind of my hope," manager Ron Gardenhire said on Friday. The Twins begin a 14-game road trip on Aug. 21 against Anaheim. "I think I'm going on the road," Casilla said. "I'm feeling very good." Casilla is hitting .313 with four home runs and 39 RBIs in 243 at-bats. "He was doing just about everything you can ask -- getting on base, seeing pitches, playing the heck out of second base," Gardenhire said. "To have another speed guy, a solid defender, all of those things you'd like to get back -- very important."
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.