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Twins need to work the trade phones

MINNEAPOLIS -- The New York Yankees decided in mid-July there was a need to rectify a lack of right-handed hitting. Since then, the Yankees have signed Richie Sexson as a released player, traded for Pittsburgh's Xavier Nady and now traded for Det...

MINNEAPOLIS -- The New York Yankees decided in mid-July there was a need to rectify a lack of right-handed hitting. Since then, the Yankees have signed Richie Sexson as a released player, traded for Pittsburgh's Xavier Nady and now traded for Detroit's Pudge Rodriguez.

Reports of the Minnesota Twins desire to add a right-handed hitter also started in mid-July. The No. 1 player on the Twins' wish list was said to be Adrian Beltre, Seattle's third baseman.

On Wednesday, the Twins added a right-handed hitter and infielder to the active list. On the surface, you would have to say this move doesn't bring the same impact as Sexson, Nady and Rodriguez figure to with the Yankees, or the clout Beltre would offer to the left side of the Twins infield.

The addition was Adam Everett, Olympic gold medalist at Sydney in 2000 and belter of one home run per 62 at-bats during his 6½ seasons in the big leagues.

Everett smacked one of those home runs while getting 74 at-bats and playing in 25 games for the Twins earlier this season. All of those were starts at shortstop, but then the sight of Everett trying to make throws with a sore shoulder became too painful for manager Ron Gardenhire to watch any longer.

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Everett went on the disabled list for the second time on May 22. He had more cortisone shots than a $2,500 claimer. He completed 20 days of rehab in the minor leagues on Monday.

A Twins official was asked Tuesday morning how Everett was throwing during the last few games for Class AAA Rochester. "Just OK," he said.

As was well-reported Tuesday, the Twins informed Everett at an afternoon meeting that he could either accept an assignment back to Rochester or use his veteran's right to become a free agent.

There was no doubt Everett would go with the second option, although he did agree to spend a couple of days contemplating a return to Rochester. He was back at his Twin Cities residence when the Twins discovered that second baseman Alexi Casilla was headed for the disabled list because of a torn ligament in his right thumb.

The Twins called Everett and said, "We want you back," so there he was, taking batting practice with the reserves before Wednesday night's game for first place against the White Sox.

Without Casilla, Gardenhire has moved Nick Punto to second base and reinserted Brendan Harris at shortstop. This was Harris' 44th start (out of 89) at shortstop. His range is limited, yet both Harris and his manager are more comfortable with him there than at second base.

The news only got worse with Casilla on Wednesday when he said he would undergo season-ending surgery on the thumb. The revelation came from Casilla, since the front office was trying to keep things vague about the injury until after today's trading deadline passes at 3 p.m.

Reason: General manager Bill Smith did not want every opposing GM who answers the phone today saying, "I see Casilla's out for the season, so how desperate are you for a middle infielder?"

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Pretty desperate, considering the carnage that has taken place with Twins' infielders in 2008.

Back when Lou Nanne was attempting to explain a disappointing North Stars' season, he always would mention "man games lost." These were the total games spent unavailable because of injury for all players with a chance to be in the lineup.

Nanne embraced this statistic so enthusiastically that Gary Sargent was missing about his third season in a row and still getting credit for lost man games. The Twins might want to consider using Louie's favorite stat to properly explain what has taken place with their infield.

Through Wednesday, the man games missed for disabled infielders -- Everett (twice), Punto (twice), Matt Tolbert and now Casilla -- stood at 171. Casilla is going to miss the last 55 and Tolbert will miss another 20, minimum, meaning the Twins' infield will finish the season with a man-game bonanza approaching 250.

And that's assuming our guy Punto, the Twins' best fielder at third, shortstop and second, doesn't pull a hammy for a third time this season.

Bottom line as Smitty the GM works the phones on Thursday: H-E-L-P.

Reusse writes for the Star Tribune (Minneapolis).

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