Twins send slumping Casilla to minors

Updated: May 6, 2009, 7:27 PM ET
Associated Press

BALTIMORE -- Second baseman Alexi Casilla has been sent to Triple-A Rochester by the Minnesota Twins, who tired of his lack of hustle and his struggles at the plate.

"I think he's getting so flustered offensively that it just carried over to the whole game," manager Ron Gardenhire said Wednesday before the Twins opened a two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. "That's why you send him down. He's just mentally a wreck right now as far as being able to play the game. He's got too many things going on."

The last straw came Monday night when Casilla didn't hustle after hitting a popup.

"Pop fly and ran with the bat all the way to first base, not really running. And that's just not acceptable," Gardenhire said. "It's just not the way we play the game. Especially after the night before, not running when he bunted a ball."

Infielder Matt Tolbert, the Twins' last cut in spring training, was recalled from Rochester to take Casilla's place and was in the lineup at second base.

"[Tolbert] should have been on our club out of spring training, but it didn't work out, numbers-wise. There was no doubt he was the guy I was calling up," Gardenhire said.

Casilla blossomed into a regular last season, batting second and providing a productive presence at the position with a .281 average, 58 runs, seven homers and 50 RBIs in 385 at-bats.

But he's been unable to get going this year, hitting .167 with one double, one triple and four RBIs in 84 at-bats. Gardenhire has also been disappointed that Casilla's slump has affected his concentration in the field.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press