Infield plagued with injuries

Infield plagued with injuries

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' infield has been banged up a little recently, with as many as four players battling various ailments.

After taking a ball to his right elbow in Saturday's 8-7 extra-innings win, second baseman Orlando Hudson said he felt good Sunday, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.

Hudson left Saturday's game in the eighth inning after being hit by a ball on a pickoff attempt from relief pitcher Marco Estrada. Hudson could not grip a ball at that time.

However, Gardenhire said the second baseman spent a lot of Saturday night icing his elbow and returned to Target Field on Sunday ready to play.

"When I got here [Sunday], the first thing the trainer said is, 'He's good to go,'" Gardenhire said. "I think he took a shot off the funny bone. He wants to play."

Also, third baseman Nick Punto had a sore left ring finger prior to Sunday's game. He said he was getting a cortisone shot and was hoping to return to the field on Tuesday. Brendan Harris started at third base for the Twins on Sunday against the Brewers.

Trevor Plouffe made his third Major League start at shortstop Sunday, while J.J. Hardy remained on the bench nursing a deep bone bruise in his left wrist.

Hardy is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday, but with several infielders dealing with injuries, the Twins may not necessarily send Plouffe down as he can play multiple positions.

"Third base, he can definitely play," Gardenhire said. "There was one time where it was said that was his best position. I know he can play third, but second might be a little stretch because he hasn't really done that much."

Infielder Alexi Casilla has also been dealing with a sore right elbow. He had his arm bandaged before Sunday's game, but did come into Saturday's win over the Brewers -- after Hudson left in the eighth inning -- and walked three times.

He also made an appearance in Sunday's loss, coming in to play for Denard Span, who left the game in the sixth inning after getting hit by a pitch. Casilla told Gardenhire after the game that his arm was feeling 99.9 percent better, and it is expected that he will be fully recovered for the Yankees series.