01/28/12 5:35 PM ET
Winter ball helps Casilla get back on track
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Casilla hit .336 with an .831 OPS during 31 regular-season games for Gigantes del Cibao, before hitting .397 with a .946 OPS in 17 playoff games.
"I'm tired of getting hits, bro," Casilla joked. "Oh my God. I was getting on base too much."
Casilla missed 57 of the Twins' final 58 games because of a strained right hamstring, but said it healed quickly during the offseason, which allowed him to get an early start in the DWL.
He said he faced Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano twice -- he had a bloop single and struck out -- and that Liriano looks like he's healthy. The numbers, though, haven't fully backed that up, as he has a 7.36 ERA in 11 innings pitched during the playoffs with Leones del Escogido.
Liriano, however, did allow just one unearned run over four innings with five strikeouts in his last outing on Tuesday.
"I talked to him when he was warming up, and I asked him how he was feeling, and he said 'way better,'" Casilla said. "So he's better. He threw a nice game the other day."
Willingham ready for challenge in right field
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he expects Josh Willingham to be the team's starting right fielder next season, even though Willingham has only started 33 games there over his eight-year career.
But Willingham, who has served mostly as a left fielder throughout his career, said he's up to the challenge of shifting to right.
"Hopefully this spring I'll just get a lot of reps out there and get comfortable," Willingham said at TwinsFest. "That's the goal. Playing on the opposite end of the field, it's different, the way the balls come off the bat, so it'll just take a little bit of time to get used to."
With Willingham in right field, the Twins would start Denard Span in center field and Ben Revere in left field. Trevor Plouffe is expected to be the club's fourth outfielder after being moved from shortstop.
Carroll excited, impressed by TwinsFest
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jamey Carroll, who was signed by the Twins early in the offseason to be the club's starting shortstop, said he couldn't help but be impressed by TwinsFest.
Carroll said he's never been a part of anything like it, and that it's also a chance for him to meet his new teammates.
"For me, it's a great opportunity," Carroll said Saturday. "That's what you want to do, gel with your teammates as soon as you possibly can, to get that comfort level going in. This is a great way to do it; you're hanging out with these guys, and you're not in uniform. It's good to get this before the stress and tension of Spring Training starts, and the level of play starts picking up."
Carroll, who hit .290 with a .368 on-base percentage over the last two seasons with the Dodgers, was endorsed by Twins manager Ron Gardenhire as his starting shortstop on Friday. Carroll said he's excited for the opportunity, and is willing to do whatever helps the club.
"I'm just going to come in ready to play wherever they tell me to go, that's what I'll do," Carroll said. "I'm looking to win the shortstop job and try to play every day. That's always been my goal, and I don't think there's a guy in here who doesn't want to play every day."