MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau was on the bench for Game 1 of Minnesota's Saturday doubleheader. Meanwhile, Josh Willingham served as designated hitter to help him stay fresh enough to start Game 2.
Morneau's month has been somewhat of a struggle, especially after a strong May. His June numbers included a .220 average, .297 slugging percentage, and only one home run entering Saturday. Morneau hit five home runs in May while slugging .642.
But manager Ron Gardenhire is encouraged by Morneau's recent adjustments. He was 3-for-8 in the two games prior to Saturday.
"He's changed it a little bit," Gardenhire said. "I think his balance is a little better. I don't think you're seeing that big stride where he's jumping out. He looked like he put some nice swings on it."
And for the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player, Gardenhire doesn't need to spend too much time on pep talks.
"I just basically check on his health," Gardenhire said. "He goes about his business. He works hard. He has a good routine. He's making minor adjustments. They look like they're a little bit better right now. He's been around long enough.
Willingham was a virtual lock to start both games.
"That's almost a guarantee, unless something really bad happens," Gardenhire said.
Gardenhire being cautious with bullpen
MINNEAPOLIS -- With a day-night doubleheader against the Royals on Saturday at Target Field, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stressed how important it was to try to keep his relievers fresh heading into the twin bill.
Gardenhire said all seven of his relievers are ready for action and that starter Nick Blackburn will also be available out of the bullpen.
The Twins used four relievers in Friday's 4-3 loss to the Royals -- Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Robertson, Kyle Waldrop and Alex Burnett -- but none threw more than 25 pitches.
"We were very careful," Gardenhire said. "We wanted Swarzy to keep pitching, but if he threw another inning, he couldn't be able to pitch today. At least we have all our guys available today and Blackburn in the bullpen. So we just have to protect these guys. They've done so well, but it won't last. We're almost to the All-Star break and I think they have more innings than any bullpen."
Twins relievers actually rank third in innings pitched behind the Rockies and Royals, entering the doubleheader. But Gardenhire said he's hopeful starters Scott Diamond and Cole De Vries can eat up innings to help the bullpen.
"It just basically gets down to how everything unfolds over the course of the game," Gardenhire said. "If your starter struggles and you have to go to the 'pen, it makes everything a little bit more interesting."
Twins donning Millers throwbacks in nightcap
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins will wear Minnesota Millers jerseys in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Royals.
The Twins are hosting a Turn Back the Clock game and will be wearing throwback uniforms of the 1951 Minneapolis Millers. The Royals will be donning throwback uniforms of the Kansas City Blues.
"I'm excited," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think they look pretty cool. I always like these games. I like the old-timer stuff. Back in the day when we were little kids, we'd have those uniforms that were cotton and baggy, and those were the greatest uniforms ever."
Named for the city's flour milling heritage, the Minneapolis Millers played in Minnesota from 1884-1960 as a Minor League team.
Twins right-hander Cole De Vries, who will start in Game 2, said he's excited about wearing the uniform, but hopes it's comfortable.
"If they get too baggy, I don't really like that too much," De Vries said. "I think it was in high [Class] A we had a Negro Leagues day or something, so we had the massive uniforms. It was a little bit interesting swimming around in those things."
The Twins will be wearing the jerseys from 1951, which is back when Hall of Famer Willie Mays was on the club.
"I know Willie Mays would've been in the outfield, so I'll take him," Gardenhire said. "So there's some pretty cool stuff about these."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.