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Updated: June 16th, 2011 11:18am
Notebook: Glen Perkins to be activated; Tsuyoshi Nishioka bats third

Notebook: Glen Perkins to be activated; Tsuyoshi Nishioka bats third

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer won't be the only key player rejoining the Minnesota Twins' lineup before Friday's game.

Left-hander Glen Perkins, the Twins' top reliever before an oblique injury sidelined him on May 21, rejoined the team on Thursday and was expected to be activated from the disabled list along with Mauer after the series finale against the Chicago White Sox.

Perkins went through rehabilitation in Florida and then threw three scoreless innings over two appearances with Triple-A Rochester, allowing four hits and striking out two.

"I was a little tentative on Saturday and then let it go on Tuesday, and it felt good," Perkins said. "It felt normal."

When Perkins went on the DL, he had a team-best 1.59 earned-run average in 22 2/3 innings over 22 appearances and the Twins had just been swept at Arizona to fall to 15-30.

They fell as far as 20 games below .500 before turning things around, winning 10 of their past 12 games entering Thursday despite the absence of numerous key players, including Perkins and struggling Joe Nathan (elbow) in the bullpen.

"It sucked," Perkins said of the injury, "and it's even harder when the team starts playing well and you don't get to be a part of it. Nathan and I would sit there and look at each other think, 'Man, it would be fun to be out there.'"

Roster moves coming

Manager Ron Gardenhire didn't reveal who would be optioned to make room for Perkins on the 25-man roster. The Twins entered Thursday with three lefties -- Jose Mijares, Chuck James and Phil Dumatrait -- in the bullpen and might be reluctant to move forward with four.

"I haven't really got into it yet," Gardenhire said when asked about that possibility on Wednesday.

"I know which way I was leaning, so if I tell you that, then you'll know exactly where we're at, and I'm not going to tell you that."

It also was unclear who would be sent down to make room for Mauer, although outfielders Rene Tosoni and Brian Dinkelman appeared logical candidates if the Twins are willing to keep three catchers.

Nathan headed to Rochester

Like it or not, the next stop in Nathan's rehabilitation process will be a stint at Rochester.

"I was on the phone with him for quite a while (on Wednesday)," Gardenhire said before Thursday's game. "He'll be OK."

Nathan, who was scheduled to make a stop in the Twin Cities on Thursday, has said multiple times he sees more life on the ball after his stint in Fort Myers, Fla. He is coming off Tommy John elbow surgery and told the News-Press on Wednesday he needed time off to break up some scar tissue.

Gardenhire declined to say when Nathan's stint in Rochester would begin because the veteran reliever had yet to be informed.

Nishioka hitting third

So much for easing Tsuyoshi Nishioka into the lineup.

Gardenhire put the Japanese infielder in the No. 3 slot in the batting order for his home debut on Thursday -- Nishioka's first big-league game since a fractured fibula sent him to the disabled list on April 7.

"He said it doesn't matter if it's (batting) ninth or first or wherever," Gardenhire said. "I don't think he thought it was going to be third. But I don't think he's too unhappy. I think he's pretty excited just to be playing."

The goal, Gardenhire said, was to keep speed at the top of the lineup, provide another hit-and-run option and avoid moving Ben Revere or Alexi Casilla out of the Nos. 1 and 2 spots in which they've been having success.

"I wanted to leave the first two alone for sure," Gardenhire said. "They've been swinging very well and playing well, and Nishi fits right in there. He's an athletic kid and very excited to be here."

Quick hits

• Gardenhire said he has "no idea" when CF Denard Span (whiplash/concussion), RF Jason Kubel (foot) or DH Jim Thome (back/quadriceps) might return. "We're trying to stay as close to day-by-day as we can," Gardenhire said.

• LF Delmon Young made a rare appearance in Thursday's lineup as a designated hitter, a position he's been reluctant to fill in the past. "Delmon actually said, 'Yeah, I'll do it,' because he knows he's not going to be doing it very long," Gardenhire said. "So, he doesn't mind doing it right now, taking a shot at it, because when Kubel comes back, Thome comes back, when we get to the National League city, there's no DH."

• Closer Matt Capps' sore right wrist is "fine" and he would have been the next man in if Carl Pavano couldn't finish Wednesday's game, Gardenhire said. Capps hasn't pitched since June 8. "We need to get him in a ballgame here real soon," Gardenhire said. "But he's fine. He says he feels good. His wrist, he's had plenty of time to heal."

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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