Whenever Alex Kirilloff slumped in past seasons, it was usually a sign he was battling an injury. He's healthy this year, by all accounts, and the Twins demoted him to Class AAA St. Paul following Wednesday's game.

Kirilloff joins Edouard Julien and Matt Wallner in AAA after the three young lefty hitters struggled this season. Since May 3, Kirilloff was batting .135 with three homers, two doubles and 10 RBI in 82 plate appearances with 26 strikeouts. The Twins promoted utilityman Austin Martin.

"[Kirilloff] has always been very, very good at his job," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He knows how to find barrels. Lately, there have been a few different things that we could point to, they haven't looked like him. It's not the guy we're familiar with."

There isn't one obvious fix for the 26-year-old Kirilloff, Baldelli said. He hasn't hit well against fastballs and his strikeout rate is up from last year. Kirilloff had only two hits in 21 at-bats during June with two doubles and nine strikeouts.

"We're talking about a guy that makes a lot of small adjustments all the time," Baldelli said. "It's not like you could look at his stroke, the way that his [bat] path works and say it works just one way, and that's what we want to get back to. That's a part of the discussion. We have to continue to experiment with a couple of different things, I think, to get him back where he wants to be."

The Twins are light on lefty bats after the roster move with two lefthanded hitters (Max Kepler and Trevor Larnach) and two switch hitters (Carlos Santana and Willi Castro).

"Last year is last year and this year is this year," Baldelli said. "All kinds of guys are having different types of seasons year-over-year. You want to say that you're going to get all your good lefthanded hitters in the organization in a great spot and they are going to go out there and lead the way against righthanded pitching, but that's not always going to be reality of it."

Martin returns

Martin returned for his third stint in the majors, entering Thursday with a .224 batting average, seven doubles, one homer and six RBI in 83 plate appearances.

He's been one of the hottest hitters in St. Paul over the past few weeks, recording a .449 on-base percentage with two extra-base hits, eight RBI, 13 runs and 18 walks compared to five strikeouts.

"I think going down there and just getting more reps kind of dialed my eyes in a little bit better," said Martin, who started in left field Thursday. "I felt like I was in a good spot when I was up here, but it was more so just a matter of reps, seeing more pitches consistently."

The initial plan, Baldelli said, is keeping Castro as the primary second baseman and Martin will spend more time in left field.

"Willi's been doing a good job at second base," Baldelli said. "I think he's getting more comfortable over at second base. I don't think there is a need to put Willi in the outfield and move him out of the infield to put Austin there. That's just the way I see it right now."


* During the Twins' 17-9 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday, it was the first time in team history all nine starters had a hit, an RBI and a run scored. It was the 66th time it happened in MLB history.

* The St. Paul Saints matched a team record with eight home runs during their 18-4 road win over the Louisville Bats on Thursday. Yunior Severino, Brooks Lee, Michael Helman, Wallner and Jair Camargo all homered — Severino, Helman and Wallner twice. Lee's home run was his first of the season.