08/08/10 12:24 AM ET
Repko impressing Gardenhire with his play
By John Barone / MLB.com
Repko, whom the Twins signed to a Minor League deal in April after the Dodgers released the 29-year-old outfielder, has batted .319 with nine runs scored, three home runs and six RBIs in 16 games since his June 25 callup from Triple-A Rochester.
"Our people really liked him," Gardenhire said. "Our scouts did a really good job about watching this guy, and when he became available, we got him. I think it's kind of a see-for-yourself type of thing when you bring in a player and don't know anything about him.
"He was in another league, so we didn't get to see him play. Now that we've gotten him out there and into some ballgames, he's handled himself very well. It's really exciting."
Repko's offensive ability and defensive versatility particularly excite Gardenhire.
"He's got a short, compact swing and can turn on the ball a little bit," Gardenhire said. "I don't think home runs are his forte, but he can hit them every once in a while. He's proven that he can put it in the seats, so good for him. He can spell any of the outfielders and feel really comfortable doing it. When you put him out there, he gives you a lift."
Casilla injures left ankle sliding into home
CLEVELAND -- Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla left Saturday night's 7-2 win against the Indians at Progressive Field with a left ankle sprain, one that will necessitate an MRI on Sunday morning.
Joe Mauer's two-out RBI single to center field in the top of the third inning plated Casilla, who collided with Cleveland catcher Chris Gimenez while sliding to score Minnesota's second run.
Trevor Plouffe, who hit his first career Major League home run in the seventh, replaced Casilla at second base in the bottom of the third.
X-rays taken Saturday revealed a bone spur in Casilla's ankle.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire could only hope for the best.
"We'll find out [Sunday] whether it's fractured or not," Gardenhire said. "It could be a couple days, or it could be more than that."
Casilla was to return to a utility role following Orlando Hudson's anticipated activation from the 15-day disabled list after Saturday's game. Now, Casilla could be headed to the DL.
"We planned on making a roster move and activating Orlando [on Saturday], but we'll have to wait until we see the results of the MRI," Gardenhire said. "We'll go from there."
Casilla, batting .287 with 19 runs scored, one home run and 12 RBIs in 43 games this season, had performed admirably in Hudson's absence.
"It's been nice to see [Casilla] play well," Gardenhire said. "That's what we were hoping for: for him to handle what's asked of him. We project him as a utility fielder, so if somebody goes down we're hoping he can step in and play. He's done that very well."
Mauer plays catch to test sore shoulder
CLEVELAND -- Joe Mauer tested his sore right shoulder Saturday afternoon by catching a bullpen session and playing catch at Progressive Field, one day before the All-Star backstop's scheduled return behind the plate.
Mauer, who has not started at catcher since July 31, served as the designated hitter in Saturday night's game against the Indians.
"We'll see how he feels when he comes in [Sunday]," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He caught a bullpen [on Saturday] and went out on the field and threw for our pitching coach [Rick Anderson]. It was kind of an impromptu thing, so I don't know a whole lot about it."
Through 95 games this season, Mauer has posted a .315 batting average with six home runs and 58 RBIs. The three-time American League batting champion is hitting .403 (29-for-72) in 18 games since the All-Star break.
Thome glad to see Lofton enter Tribe hall
CLEVELAND -- Some fortuitous scheduling allowed Jim Thome to have a special experience Saturday night.
The Twins designated hitter watched as the Indians inducted Kenny Lofton into their Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony at Progressive Field, the ballpark Lofton and Thome called home for nine seasons together as members of the Tribe.
"He's very deserving," Thome said. "It will be fun for me to watch an ex-teammate that I care about get a nice honor like this. It's cool."
When Thome thinks of his playing days alongside Lofton, he recalls a supremely confident individual who never shied away from pressure.
"We always used to joke with him, because he had a little bit of arrogance about him that set the tone for us," Thome said. "I wouldn't say that Kenny Lofton was cocky by any means, but he had a little bit of that cocky arrogance about him in a very good way towards the game.
"He wanted to win. He wanted to be in every big moment in the playoffs, and he was. Look at his career. Teams brought him in year after year. He hung around the game and took great care of himself."
For Thome, Lofton's talents extended beyond the baseball field.
"Kenny's a class act," Thome said. "He could change the complexion of a game very quickly, but he's also a very good person who never forgot where he came from. I think the one thing people don't know about him is all the charitable work he did here. He would randomly stop at places and do things for kids and never tell anybody about it. That says a lot about the person he was inside."
Thome remains in contact with Lofton, especially during the holiday season.
"He sends funny Christmas cards," Thome said. "My wife and I always have fun with them."
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.