Twins avoid arbitration with Casilla via one-year, $865K deal

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From SI.com’s Jon Heyman comes word that the Twins have reached agreement on a one-year, $865,000 contract with infielder Alexi Casilla, avoiding the need for an arbitration hearing.

The 26-year-old was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter after racking up enough service time in 2010.

He sat idle for the first two months last year because of an elbow issue then hit .276/.331/.395  with one home run and 20 RBI in 152 at-bats once he regained his health.

Casilla has served mostly as a utility infielder for Minnesota since first breaking into the league back in 2006.  With J.J. Hardy out of the picture, the Twins are going to ask him to start at shortstop in 2011.  Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a new acquisition out of Japan, will start at second base.

Carlos Gomez doesn’t see any need to apologize for walk-off homer celebration

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On Sunday, Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez hit a walk-off home run against the Twins. He was very fired up about his accomplishment and celebrated:

The Twins have already gotten upset with a player for bunting while Jose Berrios worked on a one-hit shutout. No one on the Twins said anything about Gomez’s antics, but even if they had, Gomez wouldn’t have felt any need to apologize, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Gomez said, “It’s something I know a lot of people are talking good about this, that baseball needs more of that. And some people say it’s not good. If enjoying and having fun in baseball is bad, I’m guilty.”

He added, “I was not trying to disrespect anybody. I was not looking to the other side, not looking at the ball. I was looking at my guys.”

Gomez also said that baseball is “getting a little boring.” His advice? “Enjoy it. Have fun. It’s competition.”

Can’t argue with that.