ARLINGTON -- Bert Blyleven made his return to the Twins' broadcast booth on Wednesday after being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Blyleven made sure to show off his new Hall of Fame ring before the game, impressing Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who joked that the only Hall of Fame he's been inducted into is the Paris (Texas) Junior College one.
Blyleven also threw out the first pitch prior to the game, as he pitched with the Rangers from 1976-77 at the old Arlington Stadium.
"He's got a lot of stickers on that suitcase and a lot of places he played in," Gardenhire said. "I don't think he ever pitched in this ballpark, so he'll have another mound he can say he stepped on to. So this is still a magical moment for him, the Twins organization and every organization he pitched for."
Gardenhire added he was happy to have Blyleven back in the booth, rejoining longtime play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer after Roy Smalley filled in for Blyleven the last few games.
"We're excited to have him back," Gardenhire said. "He's a lot of fun up there in the booth. He does a really good job for us. And now we don't have to do anymore countdowns. We have a real Hall of Famer in our booth."
Nathan ties Twins' all-time saves mark
ARLINGTON -- With his eighth save of the season in Tuesday's 9-8 win over the Rangers, Twins closer Joe Nathan tied right-hander Rick Aguilera for the franchise record in saves with 254.
Nathan, who has a 2.06 ERA in seven seasons with Minnesota, has been an efficient closer over the years, as his 88.9 save percentage (255-for-287) ranks second behind Yankees closer Mariano Rivera (89.2) among active players with at least 190 opportunities.
The Twins are also the only organization with a pair of relievers with 250 career saves, as only 30 pitchers in baseball history have reached that plateau.
"For me, it's just an honor to be mentioned with a guy like Rick Aguilera," Nathan said. "I got a chance to meet him. He's such a great guy and had such a great career. He's a Twins Hall of Famer. So to be around this team for that long and to have the opportunity to close over here when I had one career save with the Giants says a lot about the [Twins]. So for them to stick with me for this long is definitely an honor and a big deal for me."
Nathan has also pitched well of late, as he has a 1.46 ERA in 13 games since being activated from the disabled list on June 24, after he experienced a setback with his forearm related to last year's Tommy John surgery that kept him out of action for the 2010 season.
Span getting his rehab in at Triple-A
ARLINGTON -- The Twins' Denard Span played nine innings in center field for the first time with Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday as part of his rehab process, going 2-for-5 with a double.
Span, out with a concussion sustained in a home-plate collision on June 3, has also been the subject of trade rumors recently, as Foxsports.com reported the Nationals are interested in the speedy leadoff hitter.
Washington closer Drew Storen could be available in a trade for Span, according to the report, but it still seems unlikely the Twins would be willing to part ways with Span.
Span was one of the club's best players before his injury, hitting .294 with a .361 on-base percentage while providing excellent defense in center field. He's also signed to a team-friendly deal, as he inked a five-year, $16.5 million contract through the 2014 season that began last year. The contract also includes a $9.5 million team option for '15.
He's also unlikely to be activated from the disabled list prior to Sunday's Trade Deadline, as he still needs to play several nine-inning games in a row before being declared ready to make his return.
Prospect Gibson skips start at Triple-A
ARLINGTON -- Twins top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson skipped his scheduled start with Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday, as he's experiencing soreness near his right elbow.
The right-hander has struggled recently, allowing 13 runs over his last two starts, falling to 3-8 with a 4.81 ERA in 18 starts with the Red Wings. The 23-year-old has also struck out 91 batters and walked just 27 in 95 1/3 innings, while allowing 11 homers.
The 2009 first-round Draft pick remains a candidate to be recalled at some point this season, but needs to prove he's healthy and improve his results in order for the club to call him up being that he's not on the 40-man roster.