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Twins beat, 5/23

May 23, 2011

Slowey to pitch again soon, but not as reliever

By Jordan Schelling / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins right-hander Kevin Slowey had an MRI on his oblique and abdomen Monday that came back negative, but he is not going to be pitching out of the bullpen again anytime soon.Head trainer Rick McWane said Slowey’s MRI did not show any inflammation or tears in the muscle. After learning of the news, manager Ron Gardenhire said Slowey will pitch again soon, but not in a relief role.

“We’ll see what the best route is to go with him,” Gardenhire said. “We all know he needs to pitch. He’s basically told us he really can’t do this out of the ‘pen, and so now we’ve got to find another way, whether it’s Triple-A or whatever.

“That’s our only option, is send him down and let him start — it sounds to me like that.”

The Twins have three options now with Slowey: send him to the Minors to pitch, add him to the big league rotation or explore trade options.

Gardenhire said he would talk with Twins general manager Bill Smith and with Slowey to determine the best course of action. He added that Slowey would be unavailable out of the bullpen while they worked to figure out a solution.

“We’re going to get him in a situation where he can start,” Gardenhire said. “That’s how he needs to prepare to pitch, and he’s tried to get loose out there, it hasn’t worked out.

“I can’t tell a guy two innings before he’s going to pitch that, ‘You probably are going to pitch in two innings.’ It just doesn’t work that way in the bullpen.”

Cuddyer, Young exit game with minor injuries

MINNEAPOLIS — Two more injuries were added Monday night to the long list the Twins have already compiled this season. Fortunately, neither seems too serious.

Left fielder Delmon Young left with a left leg contusion after fouling a ball off his leg in the seventh inning and second baseman Michael Cuddyer left with a right hip strain after singling and scoring earlier in the frame.

Young’s injury was noticeable after the 8-7 10-inning loss to the Mariners, but it was not anything that he or the Twins expect would keep him out for long.

“It’s just bruised right on the knee. It’s just bending, it was too sore to try to go out there and try running around,” Young said.

“Hopefully it’s just one of those things where it’s just a bruise for a day, and the next day you’re able to come out and have less pain, and be able to run around and tolerate.”

Cuddyer walked with a noticeable limp after the game, but he did run well on Jim Thome’s home run before coming out of the game. He said he felt his hip grab a bit after a foul ball during his at-bat that resulted in an infield single.

“That’s the funny thing, and that’s what actually is encouraging, is that I was busting it pretty good and I was running pretty well until I saw it go out of the park,” Cuddyer said. “I was on third base when they signaled home run. So that’s what’s kind of encouraging to me.”

With so many players having spent time on the disabled list already this season — Young being one of them — losing either player for an extended period would be another blow to what has been a trying season so far in Minnesota.

Both players expressed a hope that they would be back sooner rather than later, and Cuddyer said it would take quite a bit to keep him out of the lineup.

“For me, it’s either you can play or you can’t,” Cuddyer said. “There’s a black and white line in between that, either you can or you can’t. If I can, I’ll be out there. And if I can’t, you know I can’t.”

Mauer, Nishioka nearly ready to get in games

MINNEAPOLIS — Second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka may play in games by the end of the week, Twins head trainer Rick McWane said before Monday’s game against the Mariners.

Nishioka, who has been sidelined since April 7 with a broken left fibula, has made a lot of progress in his rehabilitation at the club’s Spring Training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.

“[He] did very good today,” McWane said. “They’ve increased his workouts, he’s doing just about everything he can on the field. His agility drills are going great and he’s very close to playing in a game. We anticipate, maybe by the end of the week, he’ll be playing in games.”

All-Star catcher Joe Mauer also continues to rehab in Fort Myers, and is close to getting in a game as a designated hitter. There’s no date set, but Mauer could DH as soon as Tuesday.

Mauer’s activities were increased Monday, and he will continue to be evaluated daily to determine if he is game-ready. He threw well Monday, at 120 feet, with good strength.

“He was throwing the ball well up here. He went down to Florida and after his first workout down there, his shoulder was a little sore,” McWane said. “So they backed him off a little bit, but they said it was a lot better today.”

Lefty reliever Jose Mijares, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 15 with elbow soreness, will throw off the mound Tuesday. Mijares will throw a bullpen later this week, and the Twins will then decide what the plan is for him, McWane said.

Glen Perkins, who went on the DL on Sunday morning with a strained right oblique, was “feeling a lot better” and was scheduled to be checked out by the team doctors on Monday.

Outfielder Jason Repko had been on the disabled list with a right quad strain. He was activated Sunday and rejoined the Twins prior to Monday’s game against the Mariners.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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