Casilla to begin batting practice soon

Casilla to begin batting practice

KANSAS CITY -- A major boost of speed, hitting and defense could be coming to the Twins' lineup in the near future.

Alexi Casilla, who's on the 15-day disabled list with a torn tendon in his right thumb, will stop wearing his splint next week and start taking batting practice, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.

"It's going well," Gardenhire said. "And he could be back in the lineup [soon]."

Gardenhire and the Twins will make their decision based on how Casilla works out next week.

Casilla recently visited a hand specialist again, and was told the thumb was OK. Gardenhire said Casilla thought he could swing the bat without pain right-handed, but not left-handed quite yet. If Casilla could go right-handed without risking any pain or injury, Gardenhire would consider using him.

"I would be for it for his defense alone out there," Gardenhire said. "And how he gets on base, and speed and the whole factor."

Casilla has been on the DL since July 29. Before his injury, he was hitting .313 with four home runs and 39 RBIs.

Mark Dent is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.