Cirillo leans toward retirement

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 25, 2007 - 12:11 AM

Veteran infielder Jeff Cirillo said he is 80 percent certain this will be his final year in the majors.

MIAMI -- Twins infielder Jeff Cirillo said Sunday he's about 80 percent certain he will retire at season's end.

Cirillo, 37, first made the comment on KSTP AM-1500 and then reiterated his feelings following the Twins' 7-4 victory over the Florida Marlins.

Cirillo said he wants to spend more time with his family. His wife, Nancy, and their three children live outside Seattle.

"If it was just me, I'd play as long as I can," Cirillo said.

Filling in for Justin Morneau at first base again, Cirillo went 0-for-5 and he said it occurred to him that it was probably his last game at Dolphin Stadium.

"I thought about it my last at-bat," he said.

Asked if his feelings have changed recently, as he's lifted his average from .207 to .271 since June 15 and shown he can hold down an everyday role, Cirillo said, "I'm not an everyday guy."

Pressed on that subject, Cirillo ended the interview. Both knees have bothered him this season and he had just played three games in the Florida heat.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm tired and a little punchy."

Twins acquire McDonald

The Twins made a trade, albeit minor.

The Washington Nationals sent them minor league outfielder Darnell McDonald for the right to keep Rule 5 draft pick Levale Speigner.

Teams must keep their Rule 5 picks on their major league roster or offer them back to their original team for $25,000. The Nationals traded McDonald to the Twins, allowing them to send Speigner to the minors.

McDonald, 28, will report to Class AAA Rochester on Tuesday. He was batting .315 with a .382 on-base percentage for Class AAA Columbus.

He was a first-round pick by the Baltimore Orioles in 1997. His only big league experience came in 2004, when he batted .156 in 17 games for the Orioles.

Mauer to first base?

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he considered putting Joe Mauer at first base Sunday, as a way to keep his bat in the lineup for the final interleague game.

Mauer said he'd rather catch.

"If we're in a situation, where he needed me to [play first], I could do it," Mauer said. "It might not look pretty, but I could do it."

Mauer said he played about five games at first base for Class A Quad City in 2002.

Since the Twins can resume using the designated hitter tonight against Toronto at the Metrodome, Mauer might not have to play first.

But with Morneau on the mend, Gardenhire said he will have Mauer and fellow catcher Mike Redmond take ground balls at first base, just in case.

First outta-there

Michael Cuddyer had been ejected from minor league games, but never in the majors before Sunday. He took a called third strike with the bases loaded to end the top of the fourth inning and told home plate umpire Larry Young the pitch was too high.

That sparked a verbal exchange.

"He kind of came at me a little bit," Cuddyer said. "And I think that's what started the whole thing."

With Twins coaches intervening, Cuddyer and Young walked their separate ways, but Young kept staring at Cuddyer and ejected him after he threw his batting gloves to the ground.

"Larry told him he was fired up and told him he picked a bad day," Gardenhire said. "So that's why that song [by Daniel Powter] is stuck in my head, 'Had a bad day.' "

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