SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Joe Nathan tossed a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, and considering he threw just 12 pitches with nine going for strikes, he's expected to pitch again Wednesday.
Nathan, on the disabled list retroactive to May 24 with a right flexor muscle strain, could rejoin the Twins on Friday in Milwaukee if his outing Wednesday goes well.
Meanwhile, back in Minnesota, the injured trio of Jason Kubel (sprained left foot), Justin Morneau (sprained left wrist) and Denard Span (concussion) are showing signs of progress.
Kubel has been taking part in a running program and is starting to turn the corner with his foot sprain.
"It's getting better," Twins athletic trainer Rick McWane said. "It's still a little sore but he said it was considerably better today than it had been."
Morneau is expected to get his cast off Friday or Saturday and then will need three to seven days of rest before swinging again.
And Span is continuing to show good signs that he's feeling better based on various tests, but there is still no timetable for his return.
"He has made some progress," McWane said.
Valencia returns to action vs. Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- Just three days after experiencing soreness in his right triceps, third baseman Danny Valencia was back in the lineup against the Giants on Tuesday.
Valencia, who suffered the injury making a throw Saturday in a game against the Padres, missed just Sunday's game before making his return on Tuesday.
"Danny Valencia went out early, took batting practice, ran around, threw the ball and said he felt good, so he's in the lineup," Twins athletic trainer Rick McWane said.
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His return also helps bolster the lineup, since he's coming around at the plate, as evidenced by the fact he homered Friday and Saturday before his injury. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also liked Valencia's attitude, as he was set on returning Tuesday.
"He said he was 100 percent, but I don't know about that," Gardenhire said. "But when a guy says he's 100 percent, it means he wants to play pretty badly. So we'll get him out there. I asked him if the arm bothers him a little bit, and he says, 'I'm not going to tell the manager.' So it's good. He wants to play."
Thome slated for at-bats in simulated game
SAN FRANCISCO -- Designated hitter Jim Thome is scheduled to face rehabbing right-handers Kevin Slowey and Jeff Manship in a simulated game Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Thome, out with a strained left quad and a sore back, is expected to be re-evaluated after the simulated game and could rejoin the club in Milwaukee on Friday, unless the club decides to give him at-bats with Class A Fort Myers instead.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins are still weighing their options because Thome would only be available in pinch-hit situations against the Brewers. But he said the biggest key will just be to make sure the slugger is healthy.
"Whether he gets into a game or not, that decision is yet to be made," Gardenhire said. "After he faces those guys tomorrow, he's supposed to tell us how he's feeling and everything. And there's still a decision whether he needs to get into a real game in Fort Myers to get some live swings. So we're still discussing it."
Slowey, meanwhile, is expected to throw between 30 and 40 pitches, as he continues to rehab his strained abdomen that forced him to the disabled list on May 21.
"Slowey is going to get stretched out," Gardenhire said. "I think we all know that he can't pitch out of the bullpen. He can't get loose and he can't warm up to pitch in the bullpen. He's getting stretched out to be a starter, but where that will be, we don't know."
Manship, on Triple-A Rochester's roster, is down in Florida on the Minor League disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff.
Mauer back behind dish in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO -- Joe Mauer made his return behind the plate against the Giants on Tuesday after serving as the club's designated hitter Sunday.
Mauer has struggled at the plate since his return Friday, however, as the four-time All-Star is just 1-for-11 with an RBI single so far to drop his batting average to .200 in 12 games this year.
But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's not worried about Mauer's swing and is confident he'll get back on track with more chances.
"I'm just going to let him play," Gardenhire said. "I've said it 1,000 times and I'll say it 1,000 times more -- I don't worry about his swing too awful much. He can hit. He's always hit, so I believe he'll hit. Is he rusty? Maybe a little bit. I don't know. But he's hit three line drives right at people, so I'll just let him keep swinging."