Alexi Casilla confident after playing well during winter ball

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 28, 2012 - 8:01 AM

Alexi Casilla arrived at TwinsFest on Friday feeling especially confident after a strong performance in the Dominican winter league.

"You're going to have a lot of fun this year watching me play," the Twins second baseman said.

Casilla batted .336 during 31 regular season games for Gigantes del Cibao and then batted .397 in 17 playoff games.

"I'm tired of getting hits, bro," Casilla said. "Oh my God. I was getting on base too much."

The Twins were just glad to see him healthy after he missed 57 of the team's final 58 games because of a strained right hamstring.

Liriano update

Francisco Liriano is missing TwinsFest because his winter ball team, Leones del Escogido, is in the middle of the Dominican championship series.

Liriano is 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA in 11 innings pitched -- rather unimpressive -- but Tuesday he tossed four innings, allowing one run (unearned) on two hits, with two walks and five strikeouts.

"I talked to him when he was warming up, and I asked him how he was feeling, and he said way better," Casilla said.

A visit to Jabs

Several Twins players went to visit Jack Jablonski, the Benilde St. Margaret's hockey player who was paralyzed on Dec. 30.

"It was amazing to see how positive he was," first baseman Justin Morneau said. "They said he'd never move his left arm, but we were in there watching him do rehab, and he's moving his left arm and shaking our hands with his right.

"His mom and dad were there. His little brother was running the show. I think a lot of guys left there speechless just seeing everything he's gone through and how positive he was. We all talked about how we'd react if we were in that situation and how positive he seems to be doing."

Pascual makes the hall

Camilo Pascual was elected to the Twins Hall of Fame in the annual voting by media members, club officials and past inductees. Pascual was one of the team's first stars when the Twins moved from Washington, D.C., in 1961. He led the American League in strikeouts the team's first three years in Minnesota, going 56-36 with a 3.09 ERA, 51 complete games and 16 shutouts over that span.

Pascual, 78, will become the 24th member of the Twins hall when he's inducted during a pregame ceremony on July 14.

Medical updates

• Morneau said he still hasn't any concussion symptoms since December. As for his surgically repaired left wrist: "[Dr. Thomas Varecka] said I'm right on schedule, where he thought I should be a this point. At the start of spring training, I should be able to take live BP, and do all that stuff."

• Nick Blackburn, who had surgery to relieve a pinched nerve in his right forearm in September, said he's thrown from a mound four or five times without any problems.

• Scott Baker, who spent six weeks on the DL late last season because of a strained right flexor muscle, has also started throwing off a mound and believes he'll be full-go for spring training.

Etc.

• Twins president Dave St. Peter said the team plans to unveil a statue of Kent Hrbek this year, outside Gate 14.

• Manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed that Carl Pavano will be the Opening Day starter, on April 6 at Baltimore, with Baker slated for the home opener April 9 against the Angels.

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