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Updated: June 30th, 2010 11:22am
Notebook: Delmon Young moves up in order, and J.J. Hardy is off to Beloit

Notebook: Delmon Young moves up in order, and J.J. Hardy is off to Beloit

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins moved back in front of the Tigers in the AL Central with a 11-4 win last night, and Denard Span tied a modern-day major-league record with three triples.

With Joe Mauer taking a rest day, Delmon Young moves up into the third slot in the batting order.

"We have the soul patrol leading off," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We have Span, Hudson, and Delmon, and that was self-proclaimed, Delmon Young, the soul patrol will be the top three in the lineup today.

"And he was moonwalking when he was doing it."

Young has been one of the Twins' best hitters this season, batting .293/.330/.473 with eight home runs and 50 RBI heading into Wednesday. He's also hitting .380/.405/.577 with runners in scoring position.

Of course, Young also swings at the first pitch 44 percent of the time, which ranks him second behind only Vladimir Guerrero. A much different approach than the guy who usually hits third.

Young goes from hitting eighth on Monday and Tuesday to hitting third on Wednesday.

"You guys all want him up there anyways," Gardenhire said. "Or your bloggers do."

NOTES

* Kevin Slowey (7-5, 4.79) attempts to lead the Twins to a series victory against Detroit starter Andy Oliver (0-1, 3.00).

Slowey has really struggled with consistency this season. He has allowed at least five earned runs in each of his last three starts, and he has pitched seven innings only three times in 15 starts.

* As expected, shortstop J.J. Hardy was sent off to Beloit on a rehab assignment Wednesday morning.

"He'll (bat) leadoff and play shortstop there for three days," Gardenhire said. "Then we'll see where he's at after Friday night, possibly join (the Twins) on Saturday if everything goes good."

* Regarding the upcoming lineup decisions with Hardy coming back, it sounds like Gardenhire is tossing a few scenarios around in his head.

Gardenhire said he'll be able to use Thome in the lineup more often, "if this works out with (Michael Cuddyer)" at third base.

Later, when asked if he had a definitive game plan for when Hardy officially returns, Gardenhire said, "We'll worry about that when we get there. Always, things change. So when (he) gets here, we'll put Hardy (at shortstop), we'll mix it up, move (Nick Punto) and move Cuddy in (at third) every once in a while, and be able to give a few more guys a spell in the infield, which is huge."

"With (Punto), if I can move him around and give Hudson a day, Hardy's definitely going to need a day when he comes back. He's not going to be able to go out there every day for two weeks. He's going to need a few breaks here and there, so we can just move them around."

* Infielder Alexi Casilla (elbow) has been going through pregame workouts at Target Field all week, and he will be sent to Fort Myers on Friday to work out with the rookie ball team.

Casilla will then begin a 20-day rehab assignment, according to Gardenhire, which means he could rejoin the team sometime in late July.

* RHP Clay Condrey continues to rehab his right elbow down in the Gulf Coast League. In 5 1/3 innings, Condrey has allowed four earned runs, eight hits, and two walks while striking out seven.

"Condrey's doing fine, just pitching in the bullpen," Gardenhire said. "We'll keep moving him up the ladder as we go."

* RHP Pat Neshek (finger), who is on a rehab assignment in Rochester, has allowed seven earned runs, 12 hits and two walks in 12 2/3 innings at Triple-A, but he has also struck out 12.

"He's alright," Gardenhire said. "His velocity is not where it needs to be. He's in the bullpen, pitching just like everybody else.

"It's just getting people out, and getting his velocity up from 85 to 86 (miles per hour) consistently."

Neshek was touching 89-90 consistently out of spring training before the finger injury.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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