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Updated: June 22nd, 2011 10:38pm
Jim Thome, Joe Nathan on track to rejoin Twins on Friday in Milwaukee

Jim Thome, Joe Nathan on track to rejoin Twins on Friday in Milwaukee

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Joe Nathan remains on track to rejoin the Minnesota Twins on Friday in Milwaukee. Jim Thome apparently will meet him there.

On Wednesday, Nathan (elbow tenderness) pitched an inning for Triple-A Rochester for the second consecutive night -- something manager Ron Gardenhire insisted Nathan do as part of a rehabilitation assignment -- allowing an unearned run on one hit with a walk and three strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Thome (back/quadriceps) got five at-bats in a simulated game in Fort Myers, Fla., and manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters both players are expected to return to the big-league club on Friday.

That would require the Twins to clear two spots on the 25-man roster. Right-hander reliever Jim Hoey is the most logical candidate to be optioned to Rochester to make room for Nathan, while the Twins could option outfielder Rene Tosoni or one of their backup catchers, Drew Butera and Rene Rivera, to make room for Thome.

Thome won't be able to start until Monday, since there is no designated hitter used in National League parks. But the Twins surely will like to have him as a pinch-hitting option -- they used Matt Tolbert with the potential tying run on base in Wednesday's seventh inning.

Two other big bats aren't close to returning. First baseman Justin Morneau (sore left wrist) will remain in a cast until Friday and outfielder Jason Kubel (foot) isn't ready to run the bases.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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