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Twins notebook 6/12

June 12, 2011 Comments off

Thome to start rehab work on Monday

MINNEAPOLIS — Eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, designated hitter Jim Thome will begin rehab work in Fort Myers, Fla., on Monday.

Thome, sidelined since June 2 with a strained left quadriceps, has made progress over the weekend since receiving an epidural on Friday. Before the Twins’ series finale with the Rangers on Sunday, Thome even took some swings in the cage.

“I’m feeling good,” Thome said. “I swung and had no issues today. Everything went good.”

Manager Ron Gardenhire said before Sunday’s game that if everything went well, the club would send Thome to Florida.

“He said he would really like to get to Florida and start getting in that heat and start doing his rehab down there and get back to swinging,” Gardenhire said. “He likes that program down there because it’s controlled pretty well, but he can get a lot of work in because there are so many bodies down there that are willing to try to do something.”

Until he begins working in Fort Myers, though, Thome won’t know whether he’ll be ready to return to the Twins when he becomes eligible on Thursday.

Even if it takes Thome a few extra days to return, the Twins should have a pretty formidable lineup when he does, with Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka expected back from the 60-day DL in the next week.

“I think it’s exciting, yeah,” Thome said. “Especially with as hard as those guys have worked down there, Nishi and Joe, and the rest of the guys here obviously have done a great job lately. So it’s kind of exciting to see where our team could go.”

Morneau, others making progress in recovery

MINNEAPOLIS — Hand specialist Dr. Thomas Varecka has not yet seen the MRI taken of Justin Morneau’s left wrist, but that should not delay Morneau’s scheduled return.

The MRI showed some fluid but did not reveal any structural damage. Morneau may receive a cortisone shot at some point, but he is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday after sitting out Saturday and Sunday and the Twins’ off-day on Monday.

“[Varecka] probably will see it [on Monday],” said Twins head trainer Rick McWane.

McWane also gave updates on the rest of the injured Twins, though there are no major changes for any of them.

Relievers Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) and Joe Nathan (elbow soreness) continue to work in Fort Myers, Fla., at extended spring training. Slowey was scheduled to throw off a mound on Sunday, and Nathan is set to face hitters on Monday.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka (fratured left fibula) and Glen Perkins (strained oblique) are with Triple-A Rochester in Toledo, with Perkins having thrown a scoreless first inning on Saturday, allowing one hit. Nishioka was scheduled to play on Sunday, and Perkins will throw two innings on Tuesday night in Toledo.

Nishioka is expected to return sometime this week, and Perkins could be back soon as well.

Center fielder Denard Span, on the seven-day DL with a concussion, is “getting better,” McWane said.

Eligible to return on Tuesday, Jason Kubel continues to feel better every day.

“He’s still doing well hitting, [but] he’s still a little bit sore running around,” McWane said. “We’re just progressing him as he tolerates.”

Twins notebook, 6/12

June 12, 2011 Comments off

Thome to start rehab work on Monday

MINNEAPOLIS — Eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, designated hitter Jim Thome will begin rehab work in Fort Myers, Fla., on Monday.

Thome, sidelined since June 2 with a strained left quadriceps, has made progress over the weekend since receiving an epidural on Friday. Before the Twins’ series finale with the Rangers on Sunday, Thome even took some swings in the cage.

“I’m feeling good,” Thome said. “I swung and had no issues today. Everything went good.”

Manager Ron Gardenhire said before Sunday’s game that if everything went well, the club would send Thome to Florida.

“He said he would really like to get to Florida and start getting in that heat and start doing his rehab down there and get back to swinging,” Gardenhire said. “He likes that program down there because it’s controlled pretty well, but he can get a lot of work in because there are so many bodies down there that are willing to try to do something.”

Until he begins working in Fort Myers, though, Thome won’t know whether he’ll be ready to return to the Twins when he becomes eligible on Thursday.

Even if it takes Thome a few extra days to return, the Twins should have a pretty formidable lineup when he does, with Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka expected back from the 60-day DL in the next week.

“I think it’s exciting, yeah,” Thome said. “Especially with as hard as those guys have worked down there, Nishi and Joe, and the rest of the guys here obviously have done a great job lately. So it’s kind of exciting to see where our team could go.”

Morneau, others making progress in recovery

MINNEAPOLIS — Hand specialist Dr. Thomas Varecka has not yet seen the MRI taken of Justin Morneau’s left wrist, but that should not delay Morneau’s scheduled return.

The MRI showed some fluid but did not reveal any structural damage. Morneau may receive a cortisone shot at some point, but he is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday after sitting out Saturday and Sunday and the Twins’ off-day on Monday.

“[Varecka] probably will see it [on Monday],” said Twins head trainer Rick McWane.

McWane also gave updates on the rest of the injured Twins, though there are no major changes for any of them.

Relievers Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) and Joe Nathan (elbow soreness) continue to work in Fort Myers, Fla., at extended spring training. Slowey was scheduled to throw off a mound on Sunday, and Nathan is set to face hitters on Monday.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka (fratured left fibula) and Glen Perkins (strained oblique) are with Triple-A Rochester in Toledo, with Perkins having thrown a scoreless first inning on Saturday, allowing one hit. Nishioka was scheduled to play on Sunday, and Perkins will throw two innings on Tuesday night in Toledo.

Nishioka is expected to return sometime this week, and Perkins could be back soon as well.

Center fielder Denard Span, on the seven-day DL with a concussion, is “getting better,” McWane said.

Eligible to return on Tuesday, Jason Kubel continues to feel better every day.

“He’s still doing well hitting, [but] he’s still a little bit sore running around,” McWane said. “We’re just progressing him as he tolerates.”

Mauer homers, ramps up rehab work

June 10, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins catcher Joe Mauer caught his third straight game for Fort Myers on Friday, marking the first time he had caught three days in a row during his rehab. In his first at-bat, he hit a three-run home run.

Mauer, who is on the 60-day disabled list with bilateral leg weakness, was scheduled for a full workout on Saturday before catching again Sunday, after which he’ll be eligible to return.

“I talked to him today, he feels great,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Arm feels good, his body feels good after catching two days. … He actually says he’s feeling really good, better than he has in a long time.”

Gardenhire said they would decide on the next step in Mauer’s rehab process after he caught on Sunday.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka led off and played shortstop at Fort Myers for the third straight game as well on Friday. Nishioka went 1-for-3 with a stolen base Thursday night.

Gardenhire said he had talked on the phone with Nishioka on Friday as well, discussing his likely trip to Triple-A Rochester before rejoining the Twins.

“It’s a little faster game at Triple-A than in the lower Minor Leagues,” Gardenhire said. “We’ll see what happens from there. They tell me he’s been moving around really good out there, hopefully that’s the case.”

Reliever Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) took a day off from throwing Friday. His return date is still TBD.

Twins head trainer Rick McWane said Jason Kubel continued to make progress, hitting in the cage on Friday and progressing his running. He is eligible to return next Friday.

Joe Nathan is still scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday and will fly to Fort Myers later Saturday afternoon. Lefty reliever Glen Perkins will throw one inning Saturday in Toledo for Triple-A Rochester.

McWane also gave an update on center fielder Denard Span, who continues to receive treatment for his whiplash and concussion symptoms.

“He’s getting treatment on his neck,” McWane said. “He’s also going to go continue testing for his concussion symptoms and doing balance work.”

Designated hitter Jim Thome had an epidural Friday morning, and said after the Twins’ 9-2 loss to the Rangers that he hopes to begin baseball activities in a few days.

“It was just a little of pain in my lower back and the inflammation around my disk had to calm down,” said Thome, who received a similar shot in 2002. “So that was the process and that’s why they went in and did what they did. So we’ll see where we’re at. The discomfort has definitely calmed down, so that’s a good thing.”

Twins notebook, 6/9

June 9, 2011 Comments off

Thome may resume activities this weekend

MINNEAPOLIS — Jim Thome’s quadriceps injury is related to his previous oblique injury, Twins head trainer Rick McWane said on Thursday.

After undergoing an MRI on his quad, back and hip, it was determined the pain in Thome’s quad was being caused by his back.

“We’ve consulted with our back specialists and some other ones,” McWane said. “The best course of action is [Friday] [Thome] is going to have an epidural in his back, and that should take care of the symptoms he’s having in his quad.”

If the treatment works, Thome’s baseball activities will progress this weekend.

First baseman Justin Morneau also underwent an MRI on his wrist, which showed some fluid, but no structural damage. McWane said the Twins would let Morneau continue to play as tolerated.

Twins reliever Joe Nathan (elbow soreness) threw a bullpen session on Thursday that went “great,” McWane said. Nathan is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Saturday.

“If it goes well on Saturday, he’ll also go to Fort Myers [Fla.], probably Sunday,” McWane said.

Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) continued to progress as well, throwing long toss on Thursday up to 120 feet with no complaints.

On the 15-day disabled list with a left foot sprain, Jason Kubel hit in the cage on Thursday and did some agility drills. McWane said Kubel felt “OK,” and that they would progress his baseball activities through the weekend.

Lefty reliever Glen Perkins (strained right oblique) threw a bullpen session on Thursday and is scheduled for a rehab stint with Triple-A Rochester beginning this weekend.

“[Perkins] is headed to Toledo tomorrow,” McWane said. “He’s going to pitch an inning on Saturday.”

Span placed on seven-day DL with concussion

MINNEAPOLIS — After meeting with team doctors and a specialist on Thursday, center fielder Denard Span was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion.

Outfielder Rene Tosoni was recalled from Triple-A Rochester and will join the Twins before Friday’s game against the Rangers.

Span suffered the concussion last Friday during a home-plate collision with Royals catcher Brayan Pena, and has been dealing with head and neck issues ever since. He said he was feeling better on Thursday, but there were still some lingering effects.

“I feel better than I did [Wednesday], just taking one day at a time,” Span said. “My neck’s still a little bit sore, and I still get dizzy here and there.”

After flying back from Cleveland to Minnesota on Tuesday night because of the headaches, dizziness and a stiff neck, Span saw a specialist at a balance and dizziness center.

Span spent four hours going through a number of tests on Thursday.

“All different types of tests, letting them spin me around in chairs and throwing on goggles and all this crazy stuff,” Span said. “They wore me out today.”

Span said the symptoms are similar to the vestibular neuritis he dealt with in 2009, and that those symptoms have never fully gone away. Doctors told Span that some of the symptoms he had in 2009 had flared up again after being triggered by the concussion last week.

Over the last couple days, Span said he would occasionally feel “spaced out,” or like the “room was moving a little bit.”

“It’s not all the time, it just comes and goes,” he said. “There have been times when I’m at home relaxing and it comes, and sometimes I’m relaxing and I don’t feel it. I think little things, like maybe bright lights every now and then or if I’ve got a lot of people around me like now, I start to feel a little funny.”

The seven-day DL was implemented this season to give teams more options when dealing with concussions.

With so many other players already injured already this season, it helps the Twins bring up an extra outfielder without having to sideline Span any longer than necessary.

“If I’m healthy in seven days I come off, if I’m healthy in eight days, I come off,” Span said. “There’s a lot more flexibility for the player to come back. With a concussion everybody heals different and you just never know. I could feel better tomorrow. You just never know.”

Gardy in no hurry to end Nishioka’s rehab

MINNEAPOLIS — Tsuyoshi Nishioka could be ready to return as soon as early next week, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wants him to play at Triple-A Rochester first.

After playing nine innings on Wednesday night for the Miracle, Nishioka was scheduled to play nine innings at shortstop for Class A Fort Myers again on Thursday. Batting leadoff, Nishioka went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored while also striking out twice.

Nishioka was eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, but Gardenhire has no problem giving him a few more days on his rehab assignment before he returns.

“I don’t want him rushed up here,” Gardenhire said. “He’s not been swinging great, so I want to see him go full out. My preference is for him to go to Triple-A and play whatever, three, four more ball games. Just to see how he’s handling himself and make sure he’s on track, make sure he’s ready to step in and play right up here.”

Twins notebook, 5/29

May 30, 2011 Comments off

Nathan’s soreness not unusual after surgery

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins reliever Joe Nathan got encouraging news on Sunday from Dr. David Altchek, who performed his Tommy John surgery last March.

After taking a look at the MRI of Nathan’s elbow, Altchek said what he saw was not unusual in the process of returning from the surgery.

“We talked to Dr. Altchek, who performed the surgery, and he said that’s a very common area for guys that have problems to get some inflammation and some soreness in that area,” Twins head trainer Rick McWane said. “That’s where they split the muscle to go in and perform the surgery, so [Nathan’s] got some scar tissue in there.”

McWane noted the MRI showed some inflammation in Nathan’s forearm, his flexor pronator and his flexor pronator tendon.

Unfortunately for Nathan, his aggressive rehab may have played a role in the setback. But it’s still not something the Twins are particularly concerned about.

“[Altchek] said particularly, guys that really work hard in their rehab, the ones that really get after it, which Joe did, are more susceptible to having this problem for some reason or another than guys that don’t,” McWane said. “He wasn’t overly concerned about it, and we’ll just have to take a few steps back and let it calm down.”

If Liriano is to start, must pitch ‘pen session next

MINNEAPOLIS — If lefty Francisco Liriano is to make his next start, the key date is Tuesday, when he’ll need to throw a bullpen session.

Liriano was scratched from his scheduled Saturday start with soreness in his left shoulder, and an MRI revealed inflammation but no structural damage, Twins head trainer Rick McWane said Saturday.

“Liriano is feeling a lot better today, he’s in there working out,” McWane said. “He understands and knows that he has to throw a bullpen on Tuesday if he’s going to make his next start.”

If Liriano cannot make his next start, Swarzak will get the nod once again, after tossing eight innings of one-hit shutout baseball Saturday night.

The Twins remain unsure of whether Liriano would go on the disabled list if he could not throw his bullpen Tuesday or make his next scheduled start.

“That’s up in the air, too,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “If he ends up missing it and he’s still sore and everything … it sounds like he’ll probably be able to go out there and throw. But if it comes up that he’s having issues out there, [the DL] would be something we would definitely think about. Back him off and just give him a couple weeks here to regroup.”

Designated hitter Jim Thome got a cortisone shot in his left shoulder after Saturday night’s 1-0 victory over the Angels, and was a game-time decision Sunday. McWane said Thome was pretty sore, but moving around before the game Sunday morning.

Lefty reliever Glen Perkins is still progressing, getting closer to taking the next step in his rehab.

“He played catch at 60 feet today without pain,” McWane said. “We’ll start him on a graduated throwing program during the next couple days.”

Thome out of lineup with shoulder issue

May 28, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — Inflammation in his left shoulder kept Twins designated hitter Jim Thome out of the lineup Saturday, but he hoped it would only keep him out for one game.

Thome pinch hit in the ninth Saturday for catcher Rene Rivera, striking out on seven pitches. He was scheduled to get a cortisone shot after the game.

He said it was an issue that has been bothering him for some time, and it just got a little worse this weekend.

“We want to stay on top of it before it gets worse,” Thome said. “That’s the main thing, I don’t want to let the thing go and then let it get worse.”

Both Thome and head trainer Rick McWane said he could be back in the lineup by Sunday. Thome left Friday’s game after drawing a walk in the bottom of the seventh, but he confirmed that it was only for a pinch runner and had nothing to do with his shoulder.

Thome said the injury affects him toward the back end of his swing, and it’s not anything he’s ever dealt with in the past.

“When I get here and then I roll over, I get it in the back on that bottom rotation,” Thome said while demonstrating a swing in front of his locker. “It’s got to be from my swing because it’s my left shoulder and I don’t throw a baseball [any] more. So it’s just from probably years of a little wear and tear.”

Twins 5/11

May 11, 2011 Comments off

Young expected to rejoin team on Friday

MINNEAPOLIS — Left fielder Delmon Young, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 27 with a strained left oblique, is scheduled to play left field on Wednesday for the first time in three weeks.

Young, who batted five times in a designated hitter role on Tuesday for the Twins’ extended Spring Training club, is expected to play six innings in left field on Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla. Barring any setbacks, Young will rejoin the club on Friday as the Twins open a three-game series against the Blue Jays.

Joining Young on the Twins daily injury report from head trainer Rick McWane were second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka and designated hitter Jim Thome, both of whom are also in Fort Myers.

Nishioka was scheduled on Wednesday to continue taking batting practice, ground balls and do some progressive running. Thome was scheduled on Wednesday to take batting practice.

After the injury report was completed, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked about the number of big leaguers rehabbing at the Spring Training complex.

“I’m not counting how many people are down there,” Gardenhire said. “I’m counting how many people are getting closer to coming back, that’s all.

“That’s our rehab site. I don’t think the number’s important. Well it might be important, but I think getting them back is what’s important. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Repko heads down to Twins’ spring complex

MINNEAPOLIS — Outfielder Jason Repko was the latest injured Twins player to head south to the club’s Spring Training complex, flying out Wednesday afternoon to Fort Myers, Fla.

Repko, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 2 with a strained right quad, also worked out in the morning at Target Field before the Twins wrapped up their series with the Tigers.

As he heads to extended Spring Training, Repko will join Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Jim Thome in Fort Myers, as they continue to rehab their own injuries.