WHAT'S DOZIER DOING?
When Alexi Casilla struggled last week, Twins followers wondered if there was an opening for infield prospect Brian Dozier to be called up.
Dozier is playing second base and shortstop at Class AAA Rochester - more short recently with Tsuyoshi Nishioka injured. After impressing in spring training, it appears to be a matter of time before he joins the major league club.
"He's been doing just fine,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's hanging in there. One report came in where he needed to continue working on coming in and getting the ball, and all the little things like that. But that's just normal reports. Right now, Dozier is the guy we're looking at in the infield. Let him have some more at-bats, and we'll see where we're at."
Dozier got off to a strong start at the plate but went 0-for-4 on Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader, dropping his average to .290 with one homer and 6 RBI. He's made three errors.
GIBSON ON SCHEDULE
Righthander Kyle Gibson is in the middle of a rehabilitation program following Tommy John elbow surgery last year. The goal is to get Gibson on a mound by the first week of June, and indications are that he will be able to start throwing off a mound on June 5.
"I feel good and everything is going on schedule for me to be on the mound on the 5th," Gibson wrote in a text message Thursday.
The Twins want Gibson to pitch in some minor league games before the season is over so he can be ready for major league spring training camp in 2013.
WELCOME JOE THURSTON
The Twins have signed infielder Joe Thurston to a minor league deal and have assigned him to Class AAA Rochester. The Red Wings have been shorthanded of late, and Thurston, 32, can help them in the infield and outfield. He played 11 games with Lehigh Valley, batting .207 before being released recently.
Thurston has appeared in 184 major league games, including 124 with the Cardinals in 2009. He's a career .226 hitter. He's a longshot to be called up.
"He was signed because we like him,'' Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "You never know about a guy’s future but we were very thin at 3A in the infield plus, Thurston can play the outfield as well."
Thurston debuted today for Rochester in the first game of a doubleheader, going 2-for-3.
ROSARIO LIKES SECOND BASE
Eddie Rosario made an appearance in center field for Class A Beloit last week. Rosario, one of the top hitting prospects in the system, is being moved to second but will make occasional appearances in the outfield.
Rosario, who spent spring training working on his second base skills with Paul Molitor and Tom Kelly, already has committed five errors this season, but the Twins did not expect him to flash Gold Glove ability right away.
"The good thing is that he likes playing it and he wants to learn,'' Rantz said. "If the player is on board, that's half the battle."
MRI FOR WIMMERS
New Britain righthander Alex Wimmers, on the disabled list with a sore elbow, will have a MRI exam on Friday. He's been diagnosed with flexor tendon soreness but the Twins want to make sure nothing else is going on in the elbow.
Rochester infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka has a high ankle sprain, is wearing a boot and is not expected back any time soon.
Rochester utilityman Brian Dinkelman is wearing a splint as he deals with a, "wrist issue" Rantz said. Dinkelman is in Fort Myers for rehab and is out indefinitely.
Rochester catcher J.R. Towles had to leave Rochester this week to join his pregnant wife for the birth of their first child.
Beloit third baseman Miguel Sano (15) and Rosario (11) entered Thursday 1-2 in the Midwest League in walks. Sano had 23 walks in 66 games last year at short-season Elizabethton. Sano also leads with 26 strikeouts but is third in OPS at 1.021.
Rochester outfielder Rene Tosoni, out since the first week of the season with a lacerated finger, is expected to return to action next week.