Notes: Castillo rests sore knee

Notes: Castillo rests sore knee

MINNEAPOLIS -- Injuries haven't been too much of a factor for the Twins this season and the hope is that continues into the playoffs.

But one player that is a bit of a concern right now is second baseman Luis Castillo.

Castillo has been battling a sore left knee and was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Castillo was still suffering from some soreness on Thursday so it was rookie Alexi Casilla who took his place, making his first start of the season for the Twins.

The knee was bothering Castillo a bit on the club's recent road trip but he said that it was once he returned to the field turf at the Metrodome that it really began to flare up again.

"On the road and the grass, it feels different," Castillo said. "Then I come here and it gets bad on the turf."

The Twins second baseman has been taking anti-inflammatory medication to try to calm down the injury. As for when he will be able to return, Castillo was a bit cautious in his prediction.

"I don't know, I'll see how it feels later tonight," Castillo said.

A player that often plays with soreness and pain, Castillo seems to be dealing with a bit more than the usual aches. The Twins seem to be taking the days off as a precautionary measure but the knee is bothering Castillo enough that he seemed to hesitate as to whether he would have even been able to go if Thursday night's game was the first game of the playoffs.

"That's hard," Castillo said. "If I had to play, maybe. But I want to be able to play hard on the field."

The hope had also been to give shortstop Jason Bartlett a breather on Thursday but Castillo's absence prevented Bartlett from getting his day of rest. Bartlett still is expected to receive at least one day off at some point this weekend. The 26-year-old has started every game there since he was recalled on June 14.

All's well: Longtime Twins clubhouse attendant Wayne "Big Fella" Hattaway underwent outpatient surgery on Thursday morning to remove the cancerous growth on his chest and the news after the surgery was all good.

Gardenhire said that everything went as scheduled with the lump being successfully removed and Hattaway is now resting comfortably at home.

Doctors removed some lymph nodes and sent them in to be tested as well. Results of those tests are expected within the next week.

Hattaway normally travels with the Twins on every road trip but it is still uncertain whether he will make the journey for the first round of the playoffs.

Postseason push: The playoffs may not be set to begin until Tuesday but there are already plenty of activities taking place to get ready for the affair.

The Twins trademark playoff item the "Homer Hanky" is set to make its debut on Friday as fans can purchase them at the Metrodome for $1 each. The Homer Hankies will also be available at the three Twins Pro Shop locations beginning on Saturday.

Along with the Homer Hankies, the Twins also announced their plans to take part in Major League Baseball's "Rally Monday" to help generate fan excitement for the postseason. The club's pep rally will take place on Monday night at Peavey Plaza, located at 11th Street and Nicollet Mall, from 5 to 8:30 p.m CT.

Hunter a-OK: Torii Hunter was back in the lineup after he left Wednesday night's game against the Royals in the seventh inning. Hunter fouled a ball off his left big toe and had it checked out after the game as a precaution since he suffered a stress fracture in the same foot earlier this season.

Twins Tidbits: With two infield hits in Wednesday's game, the Twins now have 193 infield hits on the season to lead the Majors in that category. The Chicago Cubs are a distant second with 174. ... Michael Cuddyer's season total of 101 runs scored and 102 RBIs so far this year makes him the first Twin to accomplish the feat of reaching 100 in each category since Corey Koskie had 103 RBIs and 100 runs in 2001.

Coming Up: The Twins will open their final series of the regular season on Friday as they take on the White Sox at 7:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Boof Bonser (7-5, 4.15 ERA) will get his final playoff tuneup in a shortened start as he faces Chicago's right-hander Freddy Garcia (16-9, 4.65 ERA).

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.