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Updated: April 22nd, 2010 11:16am
Pregame: Neshek ready; Mauer, Hardy sit

Pregame: Neshek ready; Mauer, Hardy sit

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins (11-4) will attempt to sweep the Cleveland Indians (6-8) this afternoon without the services of catcher Joe Mauer and shortstop J.J. Hardy, who will both rest this afternoon. Drew Butera and Alexi Casilla will start instead.

Hardy told manager Ron Gardenhire he had a sore knee, but was willing to play. Gardenhire decided to give him a day off.

Mauer simply felt a bit banged up when he came to the ballpark today.

"It's a good time for him," Gardenhire said. "He's been catching every game since (the White Sox series). You figure it was going to come up one of these days, where he'd get beat up a little bit, get some foul tips, which was yesterday. He's a little sore, so it's a good day."

Right-hander Scott Baker (2-1, 3.38 ERA) is set to face right-hander Mitch Talbot (1-1, 3.21 ERA).

Jim Thome is also starting in place of Delmon Young. Jason Kubel will play left field and bat third.

* Pat Neshek threw a bullpen session earlier this morning, and Rick Anderson peaked his head into Gardenhire's office to notify the manager that his right-handed reliever is cleared to pitch. Neshek is available in an emergency today, but will be 100% available for this weekend's series at Kansas City.

* Right-handed reliever Clay Condrey, who has been on the disabled list all month with a sore elbow, threw a bullpen session yesterday. But according to Gardenhire, Condrey still felt discomfort in his elbow.

"It didn't feel very good," Gardenhire said about Condrey's elbow after the throwing session. "I think he's a little flustered, trying to figure out what's going on," Gardenhire said.

* Right-hander Jose Mijares (elbow) is feeling "pretty good," according to Gardy, and he will stay back in Minneapolis for treatment while his teammates hit the road.

* Before receiving word that Neshek is ready to go, Gardenhire talked briefly and vaguely about various 40-man roster scenarios, if they were forced to make a move (which, temporarily, they will not have to do).

"I've got some things I'm throwing around there," Gardenhire said, when asked specifically about right-hander Anthony Slama, who is not currently on the 40-man.

* Nick Blackburn (arm soreness) is fine, and he will make his start on Saturday in K.C.

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