Utilityman Willi Castro doing it all for Twins right now

Last month, Willi Castro was the Twins’ third baseman. Last week, he was their starting shortstop. This week, he’s their center fielder. Over the course of the last few games, he’s also been at third base and in left field, too.

It’s nothing new for the Twins do-it-all utilityman, who not only has shown the value of his versatility over the past couple weeks, but has also been at his best at the plate.

Castro entered Sunday on a 10-game hitting streak, the longest of his career. That streak was snapped during the Twins’ 9-2 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday, but over that stretch, he was hitting .465 with 20 hits, including nine for extra bases. In the process, he raised his batting average on the season by 100 points.

“I started off a little late. I was a little lost,” Castro said. “But I always start off like that every year. It’s a long season. I never keep my head down. I keep working with the same routine when I’m doing bad or good. I know the kind of player that I am.”

And that kind of player is an extremely valuable one for the Twins.

When Royce Lewis went down with a quadriceps strain during the first game of the season, Castro was relied upon heavily to fill in at third base.

When Carlos Correa strained his intercostal, Castro shifted over to shortstop, where he was entrusted to start most of the games in Correa’s absence.

And now that Byron Buxton is on the injured list with right knee inflammation, much of Castro’s time is coming in the outfield now.

“I prepared myself for this when I first started playing all the positions,” Castro said. “That was really tough at first because I didn’t get the hang of it so fast. But when I was going every day out there, just mixing up the positions, doing a lot of reps everywhere, I started feeling more comfortable. Right now, at this point, I feel really good. Everywhere I can play and they’re going to put me, I feel good.”

That goes for at the plate and on the basepaths, too, where Castro excels and wreaks havoc.

“Willi’s been exceptional for us,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s taken advantage of all his opportunities. … He’s done a ton for this organization and we still have him for a while, too. He’s a fun guy to watch play and a guy you love having on your team.”

Original sausage retired

Baldelli first expressed his concern that the Twins’ rally sausage, a piece of encased meat that Kyle Farmer left on a table in the clubhouse and hitting coach David Popkins brought into the dugout on April 25, was hazardous a week ago.

But the Twins were determined to stick with their good-luck charm through the course of their winning streak. With it now over, the original summer sausage has now been retired.

“It might be in the trash by now. Honestly, where it belongs,” Baldelli said. “We can always get a new one, which I think we have a box of them somewhere. The guys throwing sausage around will be ready to go. Trust me. They’ll still have them and be ready.”


The Twins will welcome the Seattle Mariners in town for a four-game series beginning on Monday. That series will feature the return of long-time Twin Jorge Polanco, who was sent to Seattle in a trade this January. … Justin Topa, acquired as part of the Polanco trade, threw an inning for the St. Paul Saints on Sunday as he rehabs from a knee injury. In his fourth rehab outing, he threw a scoreless inning, allowing a hit and striking out one batter.