Casilla avoids arbitration, agrees for $1.38 million

The Twins and infielder Alexi Casilla have agreed to a one-year, $1,382,500 contract for 2012, avoiding arbitration.

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Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla

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FORT MYERS, FLA. - The Twins and infielder Alexi Casilla have agreed to a one-year, $1,382,500 contract for 2012, avoiding arbitration.

Casilla had filed for $1.75 million and the Twins countered with $1.065 million, so the sides settled at $25,000 below the midpoint just a few days before their scheduled hearing in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Twins were able to avoid arbitration with all three of their eligible players; they haven't gone to arbitration with anyone since Kyle Lohse won back-to-back hearings in 2005 and '06.

The Twins expect Casilla to start at second base this season, but he has to prove he can stay on the field. He has never played more than 98 games in a season. He played in 97 games last season, batting .260 with two homers, 21 RBI, 52 runs and 15 stolen bases. He landed on the DL twice and played only one game after July 29 because of a right hamstring strain.

Hughes patient

More than 20 players have been working out at the Lee County Sports Complex in advance of Sunday's first workout for pitchers and catchers. Infielder Luke Hughes has been watching more than participating.

Hughes sprained his right shoulder during Australia Fall League play and is in the middle of rehabilitation. He said he hopes to be able to start swinging a bat next week.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan sounded optimistic.

"He's going through his therapy,'' Ryan said. "I think he's going to be OK here. Probably the early part of March [he'll be ready]."

Etc.

• The Twins usually don't have problems with players from Latin America obtaining visas to travel to the U.S. But they really won't know for sure until everyone reports. "I haven't had any red flags with visas yet,'' Ryan said, "but that usually comes on the day you don't want it to."

• Several members of the organization will be on hand Thursday in Fort Myers for funeral services for Dominic Jemella, who died Tuesday at age 91. Jemella, a World War II veteran, spent 20 seasons as a security guard outside the Twins spring training clubhouse.

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