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Updated: April 24th, 2012 6:21pm
Gardenhire says Dozier 'is the guy we're looking at in the infield'

Gardenhire says Dozier 'is the guy we're looking at in the infield'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins are likely to carry 13 pitchers until the off day on Thursday, at which point they'll opt for an extra position player instead.

As of right now the Twins only have two true middle infielders on the roster -- Jamey Carroll and Alexi Casilla, who was sidelined for the second straight night on Tuesday with flu symptoms.

Trevor Plouffe, who has started in place of Casilla both days, is the primary backup infielder, but the Twins would rather use him more frequently in the outfield. Backup third baseman Sean Burroughs can play second base if needed. Luke Hughes was designated for assignment last week and now plays for the Oakland Athletics.

If the Twins do summon an infielder from Triple-A Rochester or Double-A New Britain, it's currently unclear who that player will be.

But according to manager Ron Gardenhire, Brian Dozier is "definitely the top guy down there. There's no doubt about that."

Dozier entered Tuesday hitting .311/.373/.459 with seven extra-base hits in 68 plate appearances for Rochester -- and those numbers are down from his red-hot start.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan has maintained that Dozier won't be called up to make his major-league debut unless he is guaranteed regular playing time. At the moment, the Twins are pleased with Carroll's professional approach at the plate and his steady hand in the field.

Casilla's presence as a starter comes with no guarantees, but the Twins are currently content letting him work through his annual early-season rough patch.

That doesn't change the fact that Dozier is being watched closely.

"We've had Dozier at second, we've had him at short," Gardenhire said. "He's been doing just fine. He's hanging in there. The one report came in where he needed to continue working on coming in and getting the ball, and all the little things like that. But that's just normal reports.

"Right now, Dozier is the guy we're looking at in the infield. Let him have some more at-bats and we'll see where we're at."

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, another possible option, was placed on the seven-day disabled list Tuesday with a sprained ankle.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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