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  • Article by: A Daily Update From Our Staffers
  • February 25, 2007 - 10:38 PM

Castillo's rough day

The Twins have an infield drill they call "Good Morning America," and it's quite a sight.

Instead of the standard drill with one coach hitting a fungo, there are four coaches hitting balls at the same time.

Most of the infielders looked sharp Sunday, but if you had never seen Luis Castillo play second base before, you never would have guessed he's a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.

Almost every throw Castillo made took a bounce. Manager Ron Gardenhire demands precision during these workouts, so Castillo's antics had to annoy Gardy.

But on this day, Gardenhire cut him some slack. Castillo learned it was his turn for a physical and wasn't thrilled to learn it meant a rubber-gloved rectal exam.

"I think Luis will be fine, but he had a rough day today," Gardenhire said. "Not normally what we like to see. He was scared to death he was going to get the finger [exam from the doctor], and I think it totally flabbergasted him."

Morneau's D improves

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly has worked closely with first baseman Justin Morneau on his defense, and the results have been impressive.

Morneau, who was drafted as a catcher in 1999, has filled some big defensive shoes for the Twins at first base, where Kent Hrbek and Doug Mientkiewicz came before him.

"You know, Hrbek was the best I ever saw," Kelly said, "but he's gotten close. He's getting pretty good. I like him an awful lot over there.

"We don't have too many people we worry about in the field. But I think a few years ago, we probably worried about [Morneau] a little bit. But through his hard work and diligence, he really stepped up to be a top-notch guy."

JOE CHRISTENSEN

LET'S MEET ...

Alejandro Machado, INF

Age: 24 • Ht: 6-0 •Wt: 185

2006: He hit .260 with a .352 on-base percentage and 21 steals for Boston's Class AAA Pawtucket squad.

Outlook: The Twins selected Machado from Washington in the Rule 5 draft, so they need to keep him on their 25-man roster or he goes back to the Nationals. Machado's ability to replace Jason Bartlett at shortstop defensively gives him an early edge to make the team over Luis Rodriguez.

CAMP CHATTER

"It's going to be different for me because it's a position I've really only played for four months. I want to be one of the best third basemen in the game, but it's going to take a lot of hard work."

Nick Punto, on coming to camp with a set position at third base after years spent as a utility player.

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