Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Back on the Field

Jeff Cirillo seemed excited about his two-inning stint at third base on Tuesday, his first action in the field since having arthroscopic knee surgery a couple of months ago. He started a 5-4-3 double play and said Wednesday he felt great.

That’s good news for the Twins, since Cirillo’s limitations have added to Ron Gardenhire’s feeling that he doesn’t have many options with this team. Gardenhire would like to use the veteran infielder to spell Nick Punto occasionally, and even back up Justin Morneau whenever the first baseman’s nose gets broken.

That’s what happened last week in the Metrodome, of course. While Morneau bled, Gardenhire considered Cirillo for the spot, but the infielder said he had no lateral range, so Luis Rodriguez got the call.

Cirillo hurried back from the knee surgery, and is OK at the plate. But trusting the knee enough to field ground balls has taken far longer, frustrating him. So his good mood Wednesday was good news for the team.

Cirillo is in the lineup tonight at designated hitter, and Gardenhire will consider the same duty Friday night against Chris Capuano. Miller Park is Cirillo’s old home park, after all.

One other lineup switch on a dreary, drizzly night in Cleveland: Chris Heintz gets his first start since being called up in Joe Mauer’s spot. With a day game tomorrow, Gardenhire decided Mike Redmond would sit out one game, and he decided he would rather have Redmond catch Johan Santana on Thursday.

Tonight’s lineups, assuming they play (and the Indians really want to get the game in, considering all the makeup games they already have scheduled later this year because of the four-game snowout in the season's first week):

Castillo 2b
Bartlett ss
Cuddyer rf
Morneau 1b
Hunter cf
Cirillo dh
Ford lf
Heintz c
Punto 3b

Silva p

Sizemore cf
Blake 3b
Hafner dh
Martinez c
Nixon rf
Peralta ss
Dellucci lf
Garko 1b
Barfield 2b
Sabathia p