DETROIT -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been telling infielder Alexi Casilla to throw the ball to first base with more zip all season. Unfortunately, Casilla heeded his skipper's advice on Saturday during batting practice.
Casilla attempted to twist a double play from second base without looking over to first base before delivering. Gardenhire expected to catch a throw from J.J. Hardy at first base when a miscommunication resulted in Casilla's throw striking him in the side of the head.
"It was the best throw he's made all year -- the most accurate anyway," Gardenhire said. "I've been telling him all year, 'Quit lobbing the ball and throw the ball, son.' I just didn't know he'd do it in BP."
Gardenhire's right ear required surgery in the clubhouse during Saturday's 11-10 loss to the Tigers to alleviate pressure and prevent cauliflower ear. He said he didn't know how many stitches it required, but that "the last six stitches hurt" when the pain medicine wore off.
Gardenhire toughed it out and managed Sunday's series finale, and actually had hopes of returning to the dugout during Saturday's marathon game before deciding on the impromptu surgery.
"I'll be out there today unless I get hit in the ear again," Gardenhire said before Sunday's game. "I would have been out there yesterday, but they did surgery. I thought they were just going to drain it and I was going to go to the dugout. But once they started doing surgery, they told me, 'You need to stay.' I've never had that before."
Gardenhire said he had a difficult time hearing on Sunday morning, but the doctors checked him out and said permanent damage wasn't likely.
"They looked at it and said it looks fine," he said. "It's red and there's a little blood, but they seem to think everything is fine."