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Updated: May 13th, 2011 11:59am
Plouffe, Young back in lineup; Nathan returning to late-inning duties

Plouffe, Young back in lineup; Nathan returning to late-inning duties

by Phil Mackey
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Finally, some positive injury-related news for the Minnesota Twins.

In an interview with 1500 ESPN on Friday morning, manager Ron Gardenhire said left fielder Delmon Young will return to the lineup Friday night when the Twins host the Toronto Blue Jays.

To make room, outfielder Rene Tosoni has been optioned back to Triple-A Rochester.

Prior to hitting the shelf on April 19 with sore ribs, Young was hitting just .228/.286/.281 with zero home runs in 63 plate appearances. Tosoni batted .171/.237/.257 with one home runs in 38 plate appearances. Gardenhire said he preferred Ben Revere's versatility on the bases and in the outfield.

Gardenhire also said shortstop Trevor Plouffe, who has been sidelined with a mild hamstring strain, will return to the lineup as well -- "(Trainers) said he's 100 percent," the manager said.

Nathan back to late-inning duties

Right-hander Joe Nathan has pitched in mostly low-pressure situations for much of the last four weeks since being demoted from the closer's role in mid-April.

Since April 23, Nathan has pitched six times, allowing two earned runs in six innings while striking out seven and walking two. He allowed both of those runs in one outing, however, and Nathan hasn't given up a run since April 30.

Progress, certainly, and Gardenhire is ready to see what Nathan can do.

"Nathan's going back toward the end of games," Gardenhire said. "Along with Perkins."

So until further notice, it sounds like Glen Perkins and Nathan will handle eighth inning duties in front of closer Matt Capps.

The Twins bullpen currently owns the fifth-worst ERA in baseball (4.82).

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