Punto placed on DL, Casilla called up

Punto lands on DL with groin injury

ST. PETERSBURG -- Following Friday's loss to the Rays, the Twins placed shortstop Nick Punto on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain and recalled infielder Alexi Casilla from Triple-A Rochester to take his place on the roster.

Punto missed his second straight game on Friday due to his sore groin. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the club originally hoped it could get through the weekend without Punto to give him a few extra days to heal. But with Punto likely needing at least a couple days before he was ready to play, Gardenhire realized he couldn't wait that long without having an extra middle infielder on his bench.

"Nicky with his groin will have a couple weeks here," Gardenhire said. "I don't think he needed a couple weeks, but our options are very limited right now and we had to make this move."

Casilla, who began the year as the club's starting second baseman, will join the club in time for Saturday's game vs. the Rays.

Since being demoted to Rochester on May 6 after he made his fair share of mental mistakes in the field with the Twins, Casilla has hit .316 (25-for-79) with three triples, eight RBIs and six stolen bases in 20 games for the Red Wings.

Gardenhire said that the reports on Casilla have been better and he'll give Casilla the opportunity to prove that he has learned from his earlier mistakes.

Gardenhire said that with Punto out, Harris will likely get the majority of playing time at shortstop and Casilla will play second base. Matt Tolbert will back up both positions and be the utility infielder off the bench.

"We'll get Casilla back out there," Gardenhire said. "He's been swinging good down there, playing hard. We can use him and see if he can get rolling up here for us and give us some more depth in the infield."

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