BALTIMORE – Carlos Correa was in the Twins lineup as starting shortstop 134 times in 2023. In 27 of the 28 games he missed, Kyle Farmer handled the position. Willi Castro started there only once.

So it was notable in Detroit over the weekend that the Twins' starting shortstop in the three games after Correa injured an intercostal muscle was Castro, with Farmer serving as third baseman in two of them.

"I haven't heard anything about [why]. I just go where they tell me," said Farmer, who with lefthander Cole Irvin on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles, made his first start of the season at shortstop Monday. "I love shortstop — it's my home away from home. But it doesn't really bother me."

Farmer, 33, has a theory, actually.

"I'm old now," he said. "So maybe it's my age or something like that. Maybe my range has gone down. They probably have some analytical numbers about that. That's probably why."

The Twins do indeed "have data on everything," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said with a smile, but that's not why he chose Castro to fill Correa's position. "It's something I thought about a lot over the winter. It feels like a small roster point, but it's something we discussed and will continue to. But they both will get playing time over there."

Baldelli made it clear that he has plenty of faith in Farmer at shortstop, that the switch had little to do with him. But Farmer was right about one thing — age is a factor.

Castro's age.

The utility specialist doesn't turn 27 until later this month, and the Twins clearly see him as a valuable backup in the infield for the next few years.

"Willi has some really good long-term potential to play that position. He hasn't played as much of it, but he's a guy who has all the tools to be a very good major league shortstop," Baldelli said. "He's got a chance to be even better, and the only way to get better is by actually playing."

Which is fine by Castro, despite the costly error he made Sunday by dropping Carson Kelly's line drive.

"I love shortstop. It's the hardest position, but shortstop drives the bus in the infield," he said. "I like playing everywhere, but shortstop is my favorite."

Conger's blast is remembered

In the Twins' pregame hitter's meeting, the team was told that there are 122 small baseball-shaped plaques on Eutaw Street, which runs behind the right field wall in front of the iconic warehouse at Camden Yards. Each one marks the spot where a long home run landed over the ballpark's 32-year history.

And which person in this room, the players were asked, has his name on one of those plaques?

The answer, the team was told, was first base coach Hank Conger, who reached that milestone in 2013 with a 412-foot blast off Jason Hammel.

"It's actually one of my favorite swings. That one, I remember," Conger said. "When I was playing, I thought [the plaque] was cool, but when I got done playing and came back here the first time as a coach, that's when it seemed really cool. That was probably when I enjoyed seeing the plaque the most."

As Conger described that homer to reporters, Carlos Santana walked past and heard the conversation, then stopped. "I have one, too," he said. Sure enough, the Twins newcomer connected on a 424-foot homer while with Cleveland in 2011.

The only player to earn a Eutaw Street plaque while with the Twins? Justin Morneau, who hit a 412-footer on July 25, 2004, during his first trip to Camden Yards.


* Jhoan Duran will throw a second bullpen session Tuesday and, after seeing how he feels on Wednesday, the Twins will determine whether the closer is healthy enough to begin a rehabilitation assignment.

* Max Kepler will work out at Target Field on Tuesday and will run the bases to test his bruised right knee. Kepler, just 1-for-20 this season, is eligible to be activated from the injured list when the Twins return home to face Detroit on Friday.