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07/31/08 8:48 PM ET

Casilla to hold off on surgery for now

Twins second baseman to have thumb put in splint for a week

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla will not immediately undergo surgery to repair the torn ligament in his right thumb, but the option for surgery has not been completely ruled out.

Casilla visited with hand specialist Dr. Tom Varecka on Thursday afternoon, and the Twins received what was deemed "very positive" news. Instead of undergoing surgery this week, Casilla will have his thumb immobilized in a splint for a week, and then he will be re-evaluated to see if the ligament has started to heal on its own.

The move could end up being a temporary postponement. If there is no sign of improvement in the ligament, Casilla likely would have surgery to repair it. The extra week will not make a significant difference, because if Casilla undergoes surgery, he will be lost for the season.

But for now, there is a slight hope that Casilla could return before the end of the season. That would be a huge boost for the Twins. The second baseman has been a big part of the offense and the club's pennant chase since he was called up on May 11. He has hit .313 with 38 runs scored and 39 RBIs in 62 games 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.