08/25/07 7:52 PM ET
Notes: Fines fine with Casilla
Friday's gaffe provides a lesson for Twins' young infielder
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
And an increase in the number of blunders by the Twins recently has been largely attributed to the abundance of youth currently on the club's roster.
Some of those mistakes the team can laugh at or shake off. But gaffes like Alexi Casilla forgetting the number of outs in an inning on Friday night have been deemed unacceptable.
Enter manager Ron Gardenhire's new system of fining players for such miscues. It's similar to a kangaroo court system in which a team has fun with its mistakes by issuing minimal fines.
The fines will be given for miscues such as failing to get down a sacrifice bunt or not moving a runner over. It's not meant to punish players, but is instead intended to convince them not to accept or excuse mental mistakes.
"It's stuff that we've done in the past, but haven't done in a while," Gardenhire said. "It just puts a little more intensity into it and makes guys think about getting the job done."
As for Casilla's miscue, it was one that was more frustrating than funny.
The play came in the seventh inning with the Twins still trailing the Orioles by one run. Casilla had just reached first base on a two-out bloop single to center field. During Jason Bartlett's at-bat, Casilla had started to run toward second in an attempted steal when Bartlett swung and delivered another bloop single into center.
Forgetting that there were two outs, Casilla paused in the middle of his run and started heading back for first base before making it safely to second.
"I saw Bartlett swing at the ball and I saw the popup, and thought there was only one out," Casilla said. "But that was a mistake. Next time, I will be looking for the outs. You learn from the mistakes."
Casilla, who was given the day off for Saturday's game against the Orioles, admitted the fine that he now owes Gardenhire might aide in speeding up his learning process.
"I know that's not going to happen again, because now I'm going to be looking for the outs," Casilla said. "And I'm going to try to save some money."
Hello baby: The concerns over Scott Baker possibly missing his start on Sunday were all erased when his wife, LeAnn, gave birth to their second child on Friday night.
Easton Timothy Baker was born at 10:38 p.m. CT at Willis Knighton Piermont Hospital in Shreveport, La. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces and joins brother Elijah, 2. Both mother and child were reported to be doing well.
Baker left the team on Friday afternoon to fly back to Louisiana for the birth. He is now scheduled to catch a return flight to Baltimore on Saturday night and should arrive sometime around 9 p.m. ET, weather permitting.
Sidelined: Dennys Reyes' sore left elbow has lingered longer than originally anticipated.
It was assumed that Reyes would be available for the weekend games against the Orioles, but the lefty tried to throw on the side on Friday and was unable to do so without discomfort. Gardenhire said it likely will be a few more days before Reyes is back on the mound.
The left-hander injured the elbow when he banged into a folding chair in the bullpen during the team's last homestand.
Back in action: Rondell White has been out of the Twins' lineup since receiving a cortisone shot in his sore left knee on Tuesday.
That will change on Sunday, as Gardenhire said he plans to start White in the finale of the series against the Orioles against left-hander Erik Bedard. White has been available to play since the start of the road trip at Baltimore, but Gardenhire chose to give him a few extra days to rest his legs, so he could play left field upon his return.
Twins tidbits: Joe Mauer was behind the plate again on Saturday, but he is expected to get the day off for Sunday's afternoon contest. Mike Redmond will catch the game, but Mauer likely won't be used as the designated hitter. With Mauer's sore left ankle, Gardenhire felt it would be better to give him a full day of rest. ... Former Twins pitcher Sidney Ponson was in attendance at Friday night's game against the Orioles. Ponson visited with some of his old teammates and told them he plans on pitching in winter ball to see if any teams might be interested in him. ... Following his save in Friday night's game, Joe Nathan has now converted 14 consecutive save opportunities. In his last 15 appearances, Nathan has allowed just one run over 16 innings.
Down on the farm: Chris Heintz went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in Triple-A Rochester's 6-3 victory over Scranton on Friday. ... Double-A New Britain split a doubleheader with Connecticut on Friday. Kyle Geiger went 1-for-3 with two RBIs in a 6-4 victory in Game 1, and Joshua Hill gave up four earned runs over four innings in a 6-0 loss in the second contest.
Coming up: The Twins will close out their four-game series with the Orioles on Sunday in a 12:35 p.m. CT start. Baker (6-6, 4.50 ERA) is looking for his first career win at Camden Yards as he faces off against Bedard (13-4, 2.97), the Major Leagues' strikeout leader this season.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.