Twins set to activate Punto ahead of San Diego road trip

Updated: June 22, 2008, 7:19 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins will activate utility man Nick Punto from the disabled list in time for him to join the team in San Diego on Tuesday.

Punto has spent a total of 40 days during two stints on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He played in three straight games for Class-A Fort Myers over the weekend to test it out and manager Ron Gardenhire said everything went well.

Infielder Matt Macri will be optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Punto. Macri batted .367 with a double, a home run and four RBIs in 14 games.

"It's not an easy time to send a guy down when he's played so well. We just have a roster move we have to make right now," Gardenhire said. "I told him, 'You've done very well, handled yourself very well.' Now we'll figure out if we can get him back up here."

Exactly how Punto fits into the mix is still in question. Alexi Casilla has cemented himself as the everyday second baseman, but Gardenhire is still looking for permanent fixes at shortstop and third base.

Brendan Harris has played decently since moving from second base to shortstop, but his .248 batting average isn't what the Twins had hoped for when they acquired him from Tampa Bay in the offseason.

Mike Lamb was signed in the offseason to be the everyday third baseman, but that hasn't panned out. Brian Buscher has been getting the bulk of the playing time there lately, but his defense needs improvement.

"We'll mix and match them and see how it goes," Gardenhire said. "He's not coming into an everyday job unless he earns it."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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