NEW YORK -- Twins center fielder Danny Santana left Friday's 6-1 win over the Yankees in the third inning after sustaining a laceration above his left eye while stealing third base. He got stitches on his upper eyelid, and said he doubts he'll play Saturday.
"I have a little headache," Santana said. "The helmet cut it. I don't think [I can play Saturday]. My eye is going to be more swollen tomorrow."
Santana doubled with one out against Yankees left-hander Vidal Nuno and successfully stole third base. But he dived headfirst into the bag, and it appeared his own helmet caused the cut above his eye as it flew off while sliding.
Aaron Hicks replaced Santana as a pinch-runner, and he took over in center field for his first game action since suffering lower back pain while taking batting practice before Wednesday's game against the Rangers. Hicks went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a walk.
Santana was leading off for the first time in his career, and it moved Brian Dozier down to the two-hole for the first time since April 18 and for just the third time this season. Joe Mauer also moved back to hitting third for just the fifth time this year and the first time since May 10.
Hicks told Twins manager Ron Gardenhire that his back is no longer a problem, but he wasn't ready to hit curveballs in early batting practice, so Gardenhire initially left him out of the starting lineup.
"Hicks is fine," Gardenhire said before the game. "He took early BP. ... His back is fine, but he just didn't want to see breaking balls. But I called the Yankees, and they said they're gonna throw some, so he's not playing."
Pelfrey dealing with minor nerve issue in elbow
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Mike Pelfrey had his throwing shoulder and elbow examined in Minnesota on Friday, and irritation was found in the ulnar nerve in his elbow, but both his elbow and shoulder were structurally sound.
Pelfrey, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin, complained of shoulder soreness after his most recent rehab start with Triple-A Rochester. So he flew to the Twin Cities to get both his shoulder and elbow examined to determine the problem.
The shoulder was fine, but an MRI exam found some nerve irritation and scar tissue in his elbow. Pelfrey will take anti-inflammatories for now, but he is expected to see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. Dr. Andrews performed Pelfrey's Tommy John surgery in May 2012.
"They looked at his shoulder and it looked great, so they looked at this elbow and there was a little bit of irritation in the ulnar nerve, which was transposed when he had the surgery," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "They said that's not abnormal or a major thing. They're hoping to treat it with anti-inflammatories."
Pelfrey had seen his velocity decrease this season, and the Twins are hopeful they've now found the root of his problem. He'd also been dealing with some tingling in his fingers, which is something he felt before the Tommy John surgery and is believed to be related to the nerve issue in his elbow.
"Hopefully, we're getting to the bottom of it with him," Antony said. "We're going to try to treat it with anti-inflammatories, and if he needs surgery, it'll be very minor and just clean up some scar tissue."
Nunez glad to see former Yanks teammates
NEW YORK -- Eduardo Nunez played parts of four seasons with the Yankees before the Twins traded for him in April, so he admitted returning to Yankee Stadium for the first time as a visitor on Friday was a bit strange.
Nunez was once considered the heir apparent to shortstop after Derek Jeter's retirement, but it never panned out, as Nunez struggled defensively during his time in New York. Nunez was designated for assignment on April 1, and he was traded to Minnesota on April 7 for Minor League left-hander Miguel Sulbaran.
But Nunez had nothing but positive things to say about his time with the Yankees, as he was thankful they gave him the opportunity to play in the big leagues.
"It's fun to see my old teammates," Nunez said. "It was fun playing with them. But it's a little weird being on the other side. I had good memories here. I played with them for four years, and so I have nothing bad to say about the Yankees. It's business."
Nunez has seen limited playing time with the Twins, but he started at designated hitter on Friday. He entered the game hitting .256/.293/.359 with a homer, a double and five RBIs in 14 games, but has yet to play shortstop.
"I feel good," Nunez said. "I don't play every day, so it's hard. But all I can do is put together quality at-bats whenever I'm in the lineup. But sometimes it's tough, because you lose your timing. But in my mind, I prepare like I'm playing every day."