Twins Inside Pitch: Casilla Promoted

In this edition of Twins Inside Pitch, the Twins get beat badly at the Dome by the Yankees, Rondell White and Jeff Cirillo head to the disabled list, and the Twins purchase the contract of Josh Rabe while promoting Alexi Casilla to the big leagues. All that and more:

Sidney Ponson didn't have a great debut for the Twins on Monday, giving up eight earned runs over 5 2/3 innings, including home runs by Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez. The good thing is that his stuff is back after he pitched with bone chips in his elbow in recent years, chips that were removed during this past offseason.

Ponson needs to work on his command. At times, his 92 mile an hour sinking fastball would get groundballs. Other times, he would get the pitch up and it would get hit. Ponson is the type of pitcher who will give up a lot of hits because they will roll through the infield, so he has to keep the ball down or risk making things work.

He also had been inactive for 10 days before his start but didn't want to use it as an excuse. With the help of pitching coach Rick Anderson, the Twins think they can get some mileage out of Ponson this season.

"I'm not happy about it," Ponson said of his outing. "I'll come in tomorrow and do my work, look at some tapes. I'll do my bullpen, talk to Andy and see what kind of game plan I'll have. I'm not a guy to make excuses. I didn't pitch good today. That's what it comes down to."

Last Game:YANKEES 8, TWINS 2: The Twins fell behind early and never recovered on Monday in their worst-played game of the young season. The Twins failed to make plays twice in the first inning, the big one being a misplayed flyball by Jason Kubel that allowed two runs to score. Sidney Ponson couldn't make a pitch to get the team out of a jam, giving up home runs to Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez. Twins hitters couldn't sustain any rallies against Yankees starter Carl Pavano.


  • OF Rondell White has been placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a right calf muscle strain. White injured himself on Monday while running onto the field before a game in Chicago. He tried to run on Monday but felt the same problem. "It came out of the blue," White said of the injury. "The toughest part is how hard I worked during the offseason. The way I look at it on the positive side is that it's not two months or anything like that. I can come back this month and help the team out."

  • INF Jeff Cirillo will miss up to a month because of surgery to clean out a bothersome left knee. Cirillo had been nursing an old injury to the knee when it flared up recently. He took a cortisone shot for it, but it didn't help. With the Twins already thin on the bench, they opted for Cirillo to have surgery so Cirillo, a .413 hitter against lefties last season, can get back and help the team.

  • OF Josh Rabe has been called up from Class AAA Rochester to replace Rondell White. Rabe, a right-handed hitter, is expected to be in left field on Tuesday when the Twins face Yankees' lefthander Andy Pettite. Rabe was batting .429 after two games at Rochester, including a home run on Monday. He's not known for his power, but is a solid defensive player and good for team chemistry.

  • INF Alexi Casilla has been called up from Class AAA Rochester to give the bench a boost while Jeff Cirillo has knee surgery. Casilla is a speedy middle infielder who takes good at-bats and projects as a top of the order hitter one day. For now, the club needs him to back other players up but is expected to get one or two starts over the next couple of weeks.

  • SS Jason Bartlett committed his third error in six games on Monday and could be benched for a day now that infield prospect Alexi Casilla has been called up. Bartlett also has struggled at the plate, which is a concern to the coaching staff.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Infield hits the Twins have through their first five games.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's a good thing here. We communicate well and make sure we are on the same page." -- LHP Johan Santana, on the club checking with him first to see if he needs an extra day off.

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