BALTIMORE -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau was held out of the lineup on Monday for the second consecutive day because of flu-like symptoms.
Manager Ron Gardenhire dismissed any speculation that there was anything else ailing the first baseman. Gardenhire did not offer a timetable for Morneau's return. Michael Cuddyer started at first base, collecting two hits in the club's 5-3 win over the Orioles.
Elsewhere on the Twins' injury report, right-hander Kevin Slowey, who is on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder bursitis, threw a bullpen session over the weekend and "everything looked good," Gardenhire said. Slowey will likely throw another session when the Twins return home Friday against Cleveland.
"We'll decide where we go from there," Gardenhire said.
Second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who broke his left fibula against the Yankees on April 7, had his leg X-rayed again and learned that it is healing properly. He has been walking in the club's exercise pool, riding a bicycle and will begin light running shortly, Gardenhire said. However, nothing has changed as far as his expected return in four to six weeks.
"Once he gets back, he'll get some at-bats in a rehab assignment, maybe down in Florida," Gardenhire said. "But that's all down the road."
It is still uncertain when catcher Joe Mauer will return from a viral infection.
Gardy ejected while serving as 'mediator'
BALTIMORE -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected on Monday for the first time this season.
In the eighth inning of the club's 5-3 win over the Orioles, Gardenhire was tossed by home plate umpire Chris Guccione for arguing a called third strike against right fielder Jason Kubel.
Gardenhire was not the only member of the Twins to take umbrage with Guccione's strike zone. Designated hitter Jim Thome was also called out on strikes in the eighth, and he confronted Guccione before being subdued by several coaches.
It was also Gardenhire's 53rd career ejection, but he said it was necessary to protect his players.
"When my guys are [yelling] from the dugout, I'm gonna try and get in the middle of it," Gardenhire said. "I want my players staying in the game. The focus, as you saw, turned to me and away from my players. That's always what I try to do. I got to go in the clubhouse early."
The ejection got the Twins fired up, and they scored twice in the ninth to seal the victory.
"I didn't hear what they were saying because I was kind of far away," closer Matt Capps said. "It always fires you up when your manager goes out and does stuff like that. You know it's because he cares. It was the same with Thome. It shows our guys are grinding."
When told after the game that his players supported his argument, Gardenhire jokingly told reporters to remind them that the ejection also carries a fine. "It was just the heat of the moment kind of thing," Gardenhire said. "Chris is a good guy, he's a good umpire. When I see guys snapping him and he starts looking in our dugout, I'm gonna be the mediator."
New addition Hoey returns to familiar place
BALTIMORE -- The last time Twins reliever Jim Hoey pitched in the Major Leagues was in 2007 with the Orioles. So it seemed only fitting that Hoey would make his return to a big league bullpen on Monday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
With the latest shakeup in the Minnesota bullpen, Hoey was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to be the setup man for the club's new closer, Matt Capps. Hoey, who throws a fastball in the mid-90s, had a 2.70 ERA for the Red Wings, with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Hoey was pressed into service immediately, entering the Twins' 5-3 win over the Orioles with two men on base in the seventh inning while one run separated the teams. He retired Derrek Lee to end the threat, then set down Vladimir Guerrero, Mark Reynolds and Adam Jones in order the next frame.
"I spent some time here, so it's quite familiar," Hoey said prior to the game about returning to Baltimore. "It's actually easier to come back here and pitch because it's a much less stressful environment. I'm just used to being here, so it's more comfortable. I grew up with a lot of those guys."
Baltimore selected Hoey in the 13th round of the 2003 Draft out of Rider University. As an Oriole, Hoey underwent both Tommy John surgery and later shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2008 season. Hoey was eventually traded by the Orioles to the Twins in December with Brett Jacobson for shortstop J.J. Hardy.
"I'm just up here to help out and throw innings," Hoey said. "The fastball is my strength but I'm able to change speeds."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire expects Hoey to be a solid addition to the bullpen.
"He throws a little bit of gas," Gardenhire said. "He's been working on a little bit of a breaking ball that will help him out. We liked him in Spring Training. We were really after him about slowing the ball down and using something other than a fastball. He was working on that in the Minor Leagues and had some success with it."
No panic from Gardenhire about start
BALTIMORE -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is optimistic his team will shake off its slow start. However, Minnesota first must overcome a wave of injuries to key players.
The Twins have three players on the 15-day disabled list. All-Star catcher Joe Mauer is out indefinitely with a viral infection, second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka has a fracture in his lower left leg and right-hander Kevin Slowey is down with right shoulder bursitis. First baseman Justin Morneau was held out of the lineup against Baltimore because of flu-like symptoms. The Twins showed signs of progress on Monday, beating the Orioles, 5-3.
"First, you have to keep your lineup in there," Gardenhire said. "We're missing a few chunks of our lineup. I think, like a lot of teams, we started off a little bit slow. We pitched OK, but we had a couple of games that didn't go so well."
The Twins are just 4-7 in their last 11 games and are 6-10 on the season. Minnesota entered the day ranked 10th in the American League with a .226 batting average.
"We've had chances to win games," Gardenhire said. "We've had leads in the ninth a couple of times and didn't get it done. That makes your record look a little bit worse than it is. We haven't played great yet, but we believe we have a pretty good chance to be a good team. Sure, we need to start hitting and score some runs to take the pressure off our pitching."
Twins recall Hacker, option Burnett to Triple-A
BALTIMORE -- The Twins recalled right-hander Eric Hacker from Triple-A Rochester on Monday, following their 5-3 victory over the Orioles.
Hacker, who was signed in the offseason, was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, allowing four hits with 10 strikeouts in two starts for Rochester. Hacker will join the Twins' bullpen Tuesday in Baltimore.
"We need a long guy out there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Hacker has been throwing very, very well. We're trying to revamp things."
To make room for Hacker on the 25-man roster, right-hander Alex Burnett was optioned to Rochester. Burnett made three relief appearances for the Twins, allowing one run in 2.1 innings pitched.
Capps trade continues to pay dividends
BALTIMORE -- When the Twins gave up top-catching-prospect Wilson Ramos to get right-hander Matt Capps, there was some grumbling among the fan base they might have given up too much.
However, manager Ron Gardenhire said on Monday that it was the correct decision, and Capps has paid dividends since joining the club at last July's Trade Deadline. With Joe Nathan struggling, Capps has taken over the role as closer and picked up his first save Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Capps was back in action on Monday, closing out the Twins' 5-3 win over the Orioles. He allowed a solo blast to Luke Scott but earned his second save in as many days.
"We took a lot of heat over that, getting rid of a blue-chip prospect like we did," Gardenhire said. "To get good players and help yourself out, you have to give up a good player. As I've said about Capps, he's not only a really good pitcher, but he'll do anything you ask. We're pretty lucky we got the young man."
Capps said he was a bit fatigued on Monday.
"I was kind of dragging a little bit," Capps said. "It would be nice to win by about 10. But you gotta show up the next day and be ready to play."
Gardenhire would not define Nathan's new role in the bullpen. However, the manager still has confidence in the right-hander, despite Nathan blowing two saves in a four-game series at Tampa Bay.
Nathan had Tommy John surgery prior to last season. He is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA with three saves this season.
"We just going to try and mix and match," Gardenhire said before the game. "I don't think there's a situation in the big leagues that is a non-pressure situation. Every time you walk on the mound, there's a little pressure to get it done. But saving a game is probably the most pressure you'll face as a pitcher. [Nathan] is still a big part of our bullpen. We need to get him back and where he's comfortable."
Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.