MINNEAPOLIS -- Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, on the disabled list retroactive to July 21 with a bruised right thumb, took batting practice before Friday's game against the Rays and will head to Triple-A Rochester for a rehab assignment this weekend.
Plouffe, who originally jammed his thumb on a swing on July 20, is set to play with the Red Wings on Saturday and Sunday before joining the Twins on Monday if all goes to plan.
"He'll get some swings, make sure the thumb is good and we'll get him back up here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's got to get some live at-bats. BP is fine, he says he feels good, but he's got to face the ball coming in 90 mph and see how it feels coming off the bat.
"You put him out here tonight, he takes a swing, jams himself, we lose 21 days, I'm not going to do that."
Plouffe has been taking swings since Wednesday, and said everything has felt fine, but that it's taken his thumb a while to heal because there was some nerve damage.
"The last couple days I've been able to hit with no pain," Plouffe said. "It's something that won't fully heal until the offseason but it's manageable right now and feels good enough to swing, so that's enough for me."
Nishioka sits after struggling in debut
MINNEAPOLIS -- After struggling in three games against the Indians, second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka was held out of the lineup on Friday against the Rays.
Nishioka, in his first three games this season, made three errors and went 0-for-12 at the plate. He also let a pop-up drop in front of him in Wednesday's 6-2 loss.
With Nishioka on the bench, Alexi Casilla made the start at second base with Jamey Carroll at third base.
"We're going to play everybody as always," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll see how we go day-to-day. Alexi's going to play. Alexi swung good the other day. Jamey's been picking it over there, so you play the guys you feel give you the best chance to win each night."
Nishioka was roundly criticized for his performance against the Indians, but said that he hopes to learn from his mistakes.
"I think you have to take it all in," Nishioka said through translator Ryo Shinkawa. "Not just the praises you hear from people in the media but you always have to take the tough criticism and try to take that and have it help you improve as a player.
"Just looking back in Japan, there were tough times and I was criticized. So you have to take it all in and hope it helps you grow as a player."
Walters reports no issues after second rehab
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander P.J. Walters didn't fare well in his second rehab start with Triple-A Rochester on Thursday but reported no health issues after his outing, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Walters, on the disabled list since June 14 with right shoulder inflammation, was on a 35-pitch limit, but was only able to record two outs on 33 pitches before being removed from the game. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk.
"He didn't throw the ball well last night, but came out healthy so he'll move forward," Gardenhire said. "He'll probably get up to what we hope would be 45-50 pitches next time."
In other injury news, closer Matt Capps still hasn't thrown a ball since being placed on the DL on July 17 with right rotator cuff irritation. But he continues to do rehab on his shoulder and will be re-evaluated by team doctors on Monday.
Right-hander Carl Pavano is set to make his second rehab start with Class A Fort Myers on Sunday. Pavano, on the disabled list since June 4 with right rotator cuff weakness, threw two innings in his first rehab outing on Tuesday.
Reliever Anthony Swarzak is continuing to throw long toss. He's on the DL retroactive to July 25 with a mild right rotator cuff strain.