CHICAGO -- The Twins didn't have any updates on Justin Morneau's mild concussion-like symptoms prior to Wednesday's game, and they didn't have a timetable for his return.
Morneau, who began to experience symptoms after diving for an Alex Avila grounder on Sunday against the Tigers, will make the trip to Anaheim with the team, but it's unlikely he will play in the series opener on Friday. Not only would the Twins' first baseman need to be cleared by team doctors, but he must also get the go-ahead from Major League Baseball.
"We're not required to put him on the seven-day DL," said Twins trainer Rick McWane, "but we are required to keep them informed when a player has concussion symptoms. So they're aware that he has these symptoms, and we'll have to get their clearance before we can play him."
Given Morneau's history with concussions, manager Ron Gardenhire said the team was obviously going to be extra cautious. Morneau's 2010 season ended on July 7 when he suffered a concussion.
With key players like Morneau, Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Alexi Casilla and Denard Span all missing time in the month of August, Gardenhire has become used to moving players around and finding a creative way to fill out his lineup.
"I'd still like to just be able to write the lineup with those guys in it," Gardenhire said. "I'd like to get them all back on the field and see what happens."
Mauer plays first base with Cuddyer ailing
CHICAGO -- Joe Mauer, who served as the Twins' designated hitter in Tuesday night's loss, returned to the field Wednesday for the first time since injuring his neck while lunging for a popup on Aug. 23.
Originally, manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to have Mauer back behind the plate, catching starter Scott Diamond, but he had to start Mauer, who collected hi 500th RBI during the Twins' six-run first inning, at first base instead. Michael Cuddyer, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch in an Aug. 24 game, said the jarring motion of catching the ball at first was aggravating the injury, so he was moved to right field for Wednesday's contest. With Mauer at first, Drew Butera was catching for the Twins.
"It's a simple thing there. I've got three catchers," Gardenhire said. "So I didn't even ask [Mauer] if he could catch once I found out Cuddy said it would be better if he played [right field]. The only time his hand bothers him, though, is when he's catching throws at first, so we put him in the outfield, and Mauer will play first base."
In fact, Gardenhire's hands were pretty much tied when it came to filling out the lineup on Wednesday. Along with the Cuddyer situation, the Twins were without first baseman Justin Morneau (mild concussion symptoms) and shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka (general soreness). Trevor Plouffe started in place of Nishioka, who had played back-to-back games after missing 10 days with a sore right oblique.
"I had to start looking around for another infielder with Nishi coming in sore," Gardenhire said. "It comes down to very few options here on how to write a lineup out at this point."
Hurler will be recalled when rosters expand
CHICAGO -- With September callups looming, manager Ron Gardenhire said on Wednesday that he wasn't sure of any specifics, but he expects the Twins to add a pitcher before starting their series with the Angels on Friday.
The two names Gardenhire mentioned prior to the series finale in Chicago were Jim Hoey and Chuck James, both currently at Triple-A Rochester.
Hoey has a 3.83 ERA over 33 relief appearances with the Red Wings this season, but he posted a 7.71 ERA in 14 appearances with the Twins in May and June. James, meanwhile, has dominated Triple-A hitters to the tune of a 1.81 ERA in 36 relief appearances with Rochester. He also held opponents scoreless in five of his eight appearances with the Twins in May and July, but he conceded four runs in one inning on July 20 to leave him with a 6.10 ERA before he was sent back to Rochester.
"There's a good chance we're going to be having Hoey join us in Anaheim," Gardenhire said. "But let's just say we're adding a pitcher, and my guess would be Hoey. James is another one that's on the roster there that's a possibility."
The Twins had a third pitcher, Deolis Guerra, on their radar, but that idea took a hit Tuesday when Guerra left Double-A New Britain's game after one inning of relief work with soreness in his right forearm.
"It's not a shocker at all that, during the course of this year, we're thinking about bringing a guy up and then he gets hurt," Gardenhire said. "Doesn't shock me at all."
Twins finding silver lining in injury woes
CHICAGO -- Ron Gardenhire is trying to find a bright spot in the midst of his team's recent struggles.
This month alone, the Twins' manager has seen his team win fewer games than any previous August, all while dealing with injuries to five of its position players and three of its starting pitchers. The former has at least given the manager an opportunity to give some of his younger players like Rene Tosoni and Trevor Plouffe some Major League experience heading into next season.
"We're still moving some people around, and we're seeing some good things," Gardenhire said. "We've seen some performances by some young guys that have been pretty good, which is going to be depth for us next season, or starters, depending on which way the winter goes."
Gardenhire added that last part with a bit of a smile, but catcher Joe Mauer said that knowing young players are vying for starting spots would push the Twins to rebound.
"There's always somebody waiting to take your spot, so you try to tell that to guys in here, especially our young guys," Mauer said. "This is a great opportunity for them, when guys are down, to show what they can do and hopefully they can make the best of it."
Third to first
Seven players in the Twins' system, including top prospect Aaron Hicks and Wednesday's starter Scott Diamond, will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in the 2011 Arizona Fall League. The other five are pitchers Cole DeVries, Bruce Pugh and Brett Jacobson, as well as catcher Chris Herrmann and infielder Brian Dozier.
Joe Mauer recorded his fifth multihit performance in his last six games. He's 11-for-24 (.458) with four RBIs during that span.
Jason Kubel homered in back-to-back games for the first time since April 16-17 and now has 22 career home runs against the White Sox, his most against any team.
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.