MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau asked manager Ron Gardenhire for the day off on Friday against the Rangers to rest his left wrist, which flared up last weekend in Kansas City.Morneau, who has also been plagued by a pinched nerve in his neck and left shoulder, served as the designated hitter on Wednesday and Thursday, and is expected to return to action on Saturday. "He's been DHing and has missed a few games here and there, but he came in today and said he needed a day," Gardenhire said. "I talk to him every day, and they tell me it's something he can play through and he has been playing through it." Twins trainer Rick McWane said Morneau might get a cortisone shot to ease the pain in his left wrist, but the training staff won't make a decision for a few more days. "Morneau's condition is basically unchanged," McWane said. "We'll continue to monitor his symptoms."
Twins bullpen battling through injuries
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' bullpen has been hit by a rash of minor injuries over the last few days, but manager Ron Gardenhire said that relievers Matt Capps, Anthony Swarzak and Phil Dumatrait are healthy enough to pitch.Capps has been bothered by soreness in his right wrist, which flared up during Wednesday's game against the Indians when he allowed a game-tying home run to Jack Hannahan in the ninth inning for his fifth blown save of the season. "We talked about sending him back out there for the 10th, but he said he felt something in his wrist -- a little tendinitis," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So we decided to back him off." Capps was held out of action in Friday's 9-3 loss to the Rangers, but said after the game he'll be available to pitch on Saturday. Swarzak suffered a mild right calf strain while running out to the bullpen before Thursday's game against the Rangers, according to trainer Rick McWane. But Swarzak said it didn't happen when the relievers sprinted to the bullpen before the game, as he hurt his calf during conditioning drills. Swarzak was healthy enough to pitch six innings in relief of Brian Duensing on Friday, allowing two runs on six hits. Dumatrait, meanwhile, was held out of action on Thursday and Friday with some soreness in his left biceps, but is expected be available to pitch on Saturday despite the injury. "He has a knot in his biceps but he's fine," McWane said. "He's had this in the past."
Mauer homers, ramps up rehab work
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer caught his third straight game for Fort Myers on Friday, marking the first time he had caught three days in a row during his rehab. In his first at-bat, he hit a three-run home run.Mauer, who is on the 60-day disabled list with bilateral leg weakness, was scheduled for a full workout on Saturday before catching again Sunday, after which he'll be eligible to return. "I talked to him today, he feels great," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Arm feels good, his body feels good after catching two days. ... He actually says he's feeling really good, better than he has in a long time." Gardenhire said they would decide on the next step in Mauer's rehab process after he caught on Sunday. Tsuyoshi Nishioka led off and played shortstop at Fort Myers for the third straight game as well on Friday. Nishioka went 1-for-3 with a stolen base Thursday night. Gardenhire said he had talked on the phone with Nishioka on Friday as well, discussing his likely trip to Triple-A Rochester before rejoining the Twins. "It's a little faster game at Triple-A than in the lower Minor Leagues," Gardenhire said. "We'll see what happens from there. They tell me he's been moving around really good out there, hopefully that's the case." Reliever Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) took a day off from throwing Friday. His return date is still TBD. Twins head trainer Rick McWane said Jason Kubel continued to make progress, hitting in the cage on Friday and progressing his running. He is eligible to return next Friday. Joe Nathan is still scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday and will fly to Fort Myers later Saturday afternoon. Lefty reliever Glen Perkins will throw one inning Saturday in Toledo for Triple-A Rochester. McWane also gave an update on center fielder Denard Span, who continues to receive treatment for his whiplash and concussion symptoms. "He's getting treatment on his neck," McWane said. "He's also going to go continue testing for his concussion symptoms and doing balance work." Designated hitter Jim Thome had an epidural Friday morning, and said after the Twins' 9-2 loss to the Rangers that he hopes to begin baseball activities in a few days.
"It was just a little of pain in my lower back and the inflammation around my disk had to calm down," said Thome, who received a similar shot in 2002. "So that was the process and that's why they went in and did what they did. So we'll see where we're at. The discomfort has definitely calmed down, so that's a good thing."