Notes: Radke pain-free after start

Notes: Radke pain-free after start

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brad Radke woke up on Friday morning with a bit of apprehension, knowing that how he felt could determine whether he would be a part of the Twins' starting rotation for the playoffs.

After passing his first test with a strong return to the mound on Thursday night, Radke knew that this would be his next big challenge.

And, in Radke's opinion, he passed this one, too.

"It's not bad -- just my typical soreness, like I feel every other start," Radke said. "Other than that, it's a good feeling. I feel better than I thought I would."

That's exactly the news the Twins were hoping to hear as Radke remains in line to start Game 3 of the ALDS, though it's still uncertain where that start will take place. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire still wouldn't give a complete vote of confidence, but he sounded like a skipper very encouraged by the news.

"We'll wait to see the next couple days, but I expect everything to be fine," Gardenhire said.

Radke plans to prepare for the start by playing catch before Saturday's game and possibly throwing a light bullpen session on Monday.

It was an emotional night for Radke on Thursday, as shown by the tears that glistened in his eyes for much of his postgame interview. Around 20 family and friends were in attendance for the start, which Radke feared might be his last.

"Just in case," Radke said of having them all on hand.

Instead, Radke got to enjoy throwing the baseball as well as he had in a long time. With his velocity touching 90 mph a few times, Radke was a bit amazed at his progress.

"I'd look up every once in a while just to see where I'm at," Radke said. "I was shocked, really."

Radke feels like the stress fracture has healed completely, although he hasn't had an MRI taken since the fracture was discovered. Radke will proceed forward with the knowledge that his shoulder feels good and he's already overcome what he feared may not happen -- a return to he mound.

"I always had hope that I would be back," Radke said. "Now, things have just worked out, really worked out. I'm just glad I had the opportunity to go out there, and now we'll see if I can help this team out."

Another vote for Morneau: There has been plenty of support in the Twin Cities for Justin Morneau to earn the honors of being this year's American League MVP.

On Friday, Morneau got the support of another player who is having an MVP-type season, White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye.

Dye was asked by some of the Chicago media before Friday's game who should earn this year's honors. And while Dye has been pretty impressive this year, hitting .316 with 43 home runs and 119 RBIs, he didn't even put himself into the equation.

"Whatever guy helps their team to the playoffs," Dye said. "That leaves two guys, [Yankees shortstop Derek] Jeter and Morneau. I would pick Morneau, probably."

Waiting game: The Twins were without not just one second baseman, but two, on Friday night.

Luis Castillo missed his third consecutive start due to continuing soreness in his left knee.

The plan had been for rookie Alexi Casilla to take Castillo's spot for the second straight night as the Twins' coaching staff was impressed with Casilla's speedy play and strong defense in his first Major League start.

But Casilla was a late scratch on Friday due to a stiff neck and back that flared up Thursday. Exactly how the injury occurred is unknown, but there were musings around the clubhouse on Friday that Casilla injured himself in the jumping huddle on the field when the team clinched a playoff spot Monday night.

Luis Rodriguez instead got the starting nod at second base, with the club hoping to have Castillo back for Sunday's game.

There had been talk of Castillo possibly receiving a cortisone shot to help with the pain, but the second baseman is trying to see if it will go away by Saturday before considering taking the shot that would sideline him for two to three days. He instead hopes to be back starting for the club on Sunday.

"I want to play in the playoffs," Castillo said. "That's why I'm here, to play in the playoffs."

Missing starter: The Twins still haven't decided who will start Sunday's game, as they are waiting to see how the division race plays out over the next two days.

If the team has a chance to clinch the division, Carlos Silva will get the start. If Silva doesn't make the start, either left-hander Glen Perkins or right-hander Scott Baker would take his place.

Coming up: The Twins will host the White Sox for Game 2 of their series in an 11:10 a.m. CT contest on Saturday. Right-hander Matt Garza (3-5, 5.32) will try to keep the Twins in the division hunt as he takes on Sox right-hander Jon Garland (17-7, 4.61).

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