CLEVELAND -- The Twins could likely have their full allotment of left-handed relievers available for Sunday's series finale against the Indians.Brian Fuentes threw a bullpen session on Saturday afternoon and from all reports, the session went well for the lefty, who has been sidelined since Sept. 1 with a sore lower back. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that if everything went well for Fuentes he could be available on Sunday out of the bullpen. The Twins got one of their lefties back Saturday when Jose Mijares was activated from the disabled list prior to the game against the Indians.
Hardy swinging less, getting results
CLEVELAND -- J.J. Hardy still appears to have the urge at times to put in extra work on his swing. It's no surprise considering that he spent so much time trying to get his swing feeling good following a disappointing 2009 season with the Brewers.But with his bruised left wrist now becoming less of an issue after he started limiting the number of swings he takes during early work, Hardy has made an effort not to put too much extra stress on the wrist with extra swings. And so far that's also been translating into results at the plate for the Twins shortstop. Hardy tallied one of only three hits by the Twins off Indians right-hander Fausto Carmona on Friday night. It's a continuation of Hardy's recent offensive success. Over his past seven games entering Saturday's action, Hardy was 9-for-21 (.429) with a double, a home run and eight RBIs. He also had a .480 on-base percentage over that time. "This is about as good as I've felt since probably 2008, so I feel like I'm pretty close," Hardy said of his swing. "It feels good because I'm getting hits. Granted, it felt good at times this year when I wasn't getting hits. But just to erase last year out of my memory, I definitely feel like this is better than any point last year. I still feel like there is a lot of room for improvement. But for right now, it's been pretty good." In 2008, Hardy batted .283 and hit 24 homers for Milwaukee. But last season, Hardy spent the year searching for his swing and even was sent by the Brewers to the Minor Leagues to try to get it back on track. He was then traded to the Twins last November in exchange for outfielder Carlos Gomez. Things got off to a better start early this year before Hardy suffered the injury to his left wrist while sliding feet-first into third base on May 4. Hardy missed a total of 40 games this season during two separate stints on the disabled list with the bruised left wrist. There also have been some intermittent games that the Twins have rested Hardy due to the wrist flaring up a little bit. But recently Hardy started to limit the number of swings he's been taking -- getting rid of extra sessions in the batting cages and keeping his workload to just his regular batting practice round -- and the wrist hasn't flared up nearly as often. "Mentally, it was tough at first because there were times when I felt like I needed to work on my swing and couldn't," Hardy said. "But as long as there are hits falling, then I think it eases my mind a little bit." So for now, Hardy plans to stick with taking fewer swings to help keep his wrist feeling good and the hope is that his swing continues to feel good as well. "I still feel like there is a lot of room for improvement in my swing, but the wrist has definitely been a lot better in the last couple weeks than it has been ever since I hurt it," Hardy said. "Everyone wants to be in a routine and I've finally found a routine. I feel like that's a big part of my swing feeling good right now."
Pavano's sore neck not a cause for concern
CLEVELAND -- Carl Pavano's neck was still a little stiff on Saturday after pitching through a little bit of irritation in his start on Friday night, manager Ron Gardenhire said.But as for any concern about the neck affecting Pavano's next start, Gardenhire didn't think it would be something the team would need to monitor too closely. "I don't worry about it," Gardenhire said. "He pitched with it this time, he'll pitch with it the next time [if needed]." Despite having to battle through some soreness in his neck, Pavano threw his seventh complete game of the season on Friday night against the Indians. It's the most complete games by a Twins pitcher since Frank Viola also had seven in 1989. The last Twins pitcher to have eight in a season was Bert Blyleven in 1987.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Saturday that infielder Nick Punto is available to play whenever he wants to use him in the field. ... Jim Thome returned to the lineup on Saturday after missing two games with a mild abdominal strain. ... The Twins' 2-0 loss to the Indians on Friday night marked the eighth time that the club had been shut out this season. The Twins were shut out by their opponents just four times in '09.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.