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Updated: July 17th, 2010 4:49pm
Notebook: Clay Condrey expected to have surgery; rotation changes coming?

Notebook: Clay Condrey expected to have surgery; rotation changes coming?

by Tom Pelissero
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Clay Condrey's season appears to be over before it started -- this time, for good.

Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the injured reliever, who sustained a setback last week in his rehabilitation assignment, expects to have surgery to repair the sore throwing elbow that's kept him out all season.

"I don't think that's a definite yet," Gardenhire said, "but when I talked to him just a little while ago, he told me he's probably going to have surgery and get his arm fixed."

Gardenhire said he isn't sure of the nature of his surgery, which will address what has been diagnosed as a right forearm flexor muscle strain.

Condrey, 34, began experiencing weakness in the arm during spraining training and opned the season on the disabled list. Signed to a one-year, $900,000 contract in January, Condrey received a second opinion in late May and was told he could try to pitch through the injury or shut down for two months.

The right-hander chose the former option and appeared to be making progress before getting shut down again last week after a stint at Class-AAA Rochester. He had another appointment with New York Mets team doctor Dr. David Altcheck and was in the Twins' clubhouse before Saturday's game against the Chicago White Sox.

"Whether it's, I don't know, replacement surgery on the ligament or something to relieve the pressure on the flexor muscle -- there you have it," Gardenhire said. "He's going to see our doctors and they're going to let me know after this. But just talking to him, he said probably surgery and didn't elaborate on what kind of surgery."

Depending how Nick Blackburn pitches on Sunday, changes to the Twins' rotation may not be far off.

The Twins recalled right-hander Jeff Manship on Thursday, giving them 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster.

Asked if he plans to stick with that number, Gardenhire said, "I really don't want to stay with that, but I'd rather get through this first round of pitching and then we'll see where we're at."

Blackburn and Kevin Slowey both have struggled mightily the past month, and Scott Baker hasn't been much better while pitching through a tender throwing elbow.

Left-hander Brian Duensing, who is 2-1 with a 1.62 earned-run average in 38 relief appearances, is the primary candidate to join the rotation if someone gets dropped. Manship also is a starter by trade, and there continue to be indications the Twins are exploring the trade market.

• C Joe Mauer was in the lineup as designated hitter on Saturday, giving Gardenhire the option to start him at catcher on Sunday instead of a day off.

• SS J.J. Hardy went 3-for-4 on Friday night, improving his batting average to .379 with three doubles and three RBIs since he returned from his wrist injury on July 3. "He's starting to get back in the swing of things and he's doing good," Gardenhire said.

• On-field batting practice was cancelled as workers rolled the tarp onto the field about 3 hours before Saturday's 6:10 p.m. scheduled start. Gardenhire, who was watching radar in his office as he spoke to reporters, said he's been told thunderstorms would hit the area on and off all night.

• IF Matt Tolbert had X-rays on his injured finger, which remains too sore for him to come off the disabled list. "There's nothing any different," Gardenhire said. "There's nothing they can do about it if there was, if it's a crack -- he's just not ready to go yet. It doesn't feel right. It hurts when he throws and hurts when he swings."

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