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Updated: July 1st, 2010 5:54pm
Notebook: Matt Tolbert possibly headed to disabled list?

Notebook: Matt Tolbert possibly headed to disabled list?

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Add Matt Tolbert to the list of banged-up Twins infielders this season.

Tolbert came in as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game, and he was charged with an error after misplaying a Miguel Cabrera groundball. The grounder took a quick hop and glanced off the middle finger on Tolbert's right hand.

Manager Ron Gardenhire described X-rays as showing a "compression jam," and said Tolbert is unavailable to hit and play defense on Thursday night against Tampa Bay.

"We'll have to wait," Gardenhire said. "If he can't throw for three or four days, it could be a DL stint for him, just depending on how his hand is. He got smoked pretty good.

"He's just really sore. We're going to give him another day or two."

With shortstop J.J. Hardy currently on a rehab assignment in Beloit, it's possible the Twins could keep Tolbert around as a pinch-runner until Saturday or Sunday, when they would presumably activate Hardy and move Tolbert to the disabled list.

If Tolbert heals quickly, Danny Valencia may wind up being the odd man out when Hardy returns.

NOTES

* Kevin Slowey left Wednesday's game after six innings and only 81 pitches because he took a line drive off the ankle. Slowey didn't sound concerned after the game, and Gardenhire said Thursday that, "He's fine. He's a little sore, but he's OK."

"He'll be fine. It shouldn't be an issue at all."

Gardenhire said Slowey might get an extra day of rest after the weekend. The Twins have an off-day on Monday, so it's possible Carl Pavano could start Tuesday in Toronto.

* The Twins welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to Target Field for a four-game series this weekend. The Rays (45-32) have slipped to third place in the American League East, yet they still own the fifth-best record in the major leagues.

The Rays' pitching staff owns the fourth-best ERA in baseball (3.57), and the eighth-best strikeout rate (7.45 K/9).

* Thursday night's starter Carl Pavano (9-6, 3.33) has thrown at least seven innings in 12 of his last 15 starts, and he's coming off two consecutive complete games -- defeating past Cy Young Award winners Johan Santana and Roy Halladay.

Gardenhire, for one, is pleased with having a guy who can give the bullpen a guaranteed rest once every fifth day.

"You have to have the one guy out there -- you hope two or three -- that can go deep," Gardenhire said.

"Especially the last two outings were huge. We were beat up a little bit with our bullpen, and Pavano going the distance, that really helps you out when you're going through a little rough stretch."

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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