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Updated: July 2nd, 2010 6:04pm
Notebook: J.J. Hardy expected to rejoin Twins for Saturday's game

Notebook: J.J. Hardy expected to rejoin Twins for Saturday's game

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Barring a setback on Friday night, shortstop J.J. Hardy is expected to rejoin the Minnesota Twins in time for Saturday's game against Tampa Bay.

Hardy -- who hasn't played for the Twins since June 6 because of recurring issues with his left wrist -- started a rehabilitation assignment on Thursday with the Class-A Beloit Snappers.

"His wrist feels good, his hand feels good and all those things," manager Ron Gardenhire said on Friday afternoon. "He's getting at-bats -- had five (plate appearances on Thursday), I think he walked once and lined out to short another time, and he's doing all right. His legs and everything feel good."

Hardy was 1-for-7 with a walk and two strikeouts with Beloit entering Friday. UPDATE, 10:23 p.m.: Hardy went 1-for-3 on Friday night, and Gardenhire confirmed he's headed back to the Twin Cities.

He probably will switch places with infielder Matt Tolbert, who took some swings on Friday but seems destined for the 15-day disabled list because of issues with the middle finger on his right (throwing) hand.

Gardenhire had an extended conversation with Tolbert after batting practice. Asked later how Tolbert felt, Gardenhire said, "Sore. I think he hit some on the field, but not very good. Hand and everything, not good at all. His finger, too. So, we'll see what we do (Saturday), probably make a move."

MORALES PROGRESSING
Catcher Jose Morales, who started the season on the disabled list following right wrist surgery, is hitting .265 with a .372 on-base percentage at Class-AAA Rochester despite continuing to battle bumps and bruises.

"He's been swinging pretty decent and he's been throwing the ball better," Gardenhire said. "He's been throwing some people out and the reports have been he's catching OK. We know he still has a little bit of the ankle issue, but he's trying to play through it."

It's the same ankle with which Morales had issues in 2009.

"They haven't said anything about it over the last probably six games I've looked at him," Gardenhire said. "There's not been one mention of it, so it must be fine."

QUICK HITS
• Gardenhire expressed confidence closer Jon Rauch would bounce back from Thursday's blown save, his fourth in 21 opportunities. "He'll be fine. It's kind of why we gave him the job -- he can forget, and he has to." Gardenhire did note the inside fastball Evan Longoria pulled for a game-tying double "was probably not a great location to throw the one that Longoria hit. Going inside on him is not where we want to leave the ball over the plate."

• World Cup fever gripped the Twins' clubhouse a few hours before game time. Several players blew vuvuzuelas, and Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau wore "I (heart) Uruguay" T-shirts as most of the team watched the penalty-kick win over Ghana.

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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